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Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Mar 15;55(6):648-51.

Frontal lobe gray matter density decreases in bipolar I disorder.

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Brain Imaging Center, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts 02478, USA.



This study was conducted to explore differences in gray and white matter density between bipolar and healthy comparison groups using voxel-based morphometry (VBM).


Brain magnetic resonance imaging was performed for 39 subjects with bipolar I disorder and 43 comparison subjects. Images were registered into a proportional stereotaxic space and segmented into gray matter, white mater, and cerebrospinal fluid. Statistical parametric mapping was used to calculate differences in gray and white matter density between groups.


Bipolar subjects had decreased gray matter density in left anterior cingulate gyrus (Brodmann's area [BA] 32, 7.3% decrease), an adjacent left medial frontal gyrus (BA 10, 6.9% decrease), right inferior frontal gyrus (BA 47, 9.2% decrease), and right precentral gyrus (BA 44, 6.2% decrease), relative to comparison subjects.


The observation of a gray matter density decrease in the left anterior cingulate, which processes emotions, in bipolar subjects is consistent with prior reports that used region-of-interest analytic methods. Decreased gray matter density in the right inferior frontal gyrus, which processes nonverbal and intrinsic functions, supports nondominant hemisphere dysfunction as a component of bipolar disorder.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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