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Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Jul 15;58(2):151-7.

Changes in gray matter volume in patients with bipolar disorder.

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Center for Bipolar Disorders Research, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.



Several lines of evidence suggest the presence of neurofunctional abnormalities in patients with bipolar disorder. These functional abnormalities may stem from structural pathology in these or connected brain regions. Previous studies have generally used a region of interest (ROI) approach to study morphologic changes in bipolar disorder with inconsistent findings among research groups, which may reflect differences in how ROIs are defined. Voxel based morphometry (VBM) allows a more exploratory analysis without the necessity for predefined anatomic boundaries. In this study we utilized VBM to compare gray matter volume between groups of bipolar and healthy subjects.


Thirty-two patients with bipolar disorder and 27 healthy subjects participated in structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. MRI images were segmented, normalized to a standard stereotactic space, and compared on a voxel-by-voxel basis using statistical parametric mapping.


Bipolar subjects showed increased gray matter in several regions including portions of anterior cingulate, ventral prefrontal cortex, fusiform gyrus and parts of the primary and supplementary motor cortex. Bipolar subjects showed decreased gray matter volume in superior parietal lobule.


These data support suggestions that neurofunctional deficits are related to structural brain abnormalities in patients with bipolar disorder. The increased gray matter observed in several regions suggests that some affected areas may demonstrate volumetric expansion, at least in some patient populations.

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