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Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2009 Sep;259(6):316-28. doi: 10.1007/s00406-009-0002-8. Epub 2009 Mar 3.

State-dependent microstructural white matter changes in bipolar I depression.

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  • 1Laboratory of Psychiatric Neuroimaging (LIM-21), Department and Institute of Psychiatry, University of São Paulo Medical School, Centro de Medicina Nuclear, São Paulo, SP 05403-010, Brazil.


Abnormalities in fronto-limbic-striatal white matter (WM) have been reported in bipolar disorder (BD), but results have been inconsistent across studies. Furthermore, there have been no detailed investigations as to whether acute mood states contribute to microstructural changes in WM tracts. In order to compare fiber density and structural integrity within WM tracts between BD depression and remission, whole-brain fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) were assessed in 37 bipolar I disorder (BD-I) patients (16 depressed and 21 remitted), and 26 healthy individuals with diffusion tensor imaging. Significantly decreased FA and increased MD in bilateral prefronto-limbic-striatal white matter and right inferior fronto-occipital, superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculi were shown in all BD-I patients versus controls, as well as in depressed BD-I patients compared to both controls and remitted BD-I patients. Depressed BD-I patients also exhibited increased FA in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Remitted BD-I patients did not differ from controls in FA or MD. These findings suggest that BD-I depression may be associated with acute microstructural WM changes.

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