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Schizophr Bull. 2014 Mar;40(2):469-77. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbt044. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Differentiating patterns of amygdala-frontal functional connectivity in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

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*To whom correspondence should be addressed; Department of Radiology, The First Affiliated Hospital, China Medical University, 155 Nanjing North Street, Shenyang 110001, Liaoning, PR China; tel: 8624-8328-2999, fax: 8624-8328-2997, e-mail:



Insight into the neural mechanisms underlying the shared and disparate features of schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder (BD) is limited. The amygdala and prefrontal cortex (PFC) appear to have crucial roles in SZ and BD, yet abnormalities appear to manifest differently in the 2 disorders.


Eighteen participants with SZ, 18 participants with BD, and 18 healthy controls (HC) underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) between the PFC and the amygdala divided into 3 subregions (the laterobasal, centromedial, and superficial amygdala) was examined using probabilistic anatomic maps. For each participant, rsFC maps of the 3 amygdala subregions were computed and compared across the 3 groups.


Compared with the HC group, we found significant differences in rsFC between the amygdala and PFC in the SZ and BD groups. In direct comparison between the SZ and BD groups, distinct patterns of rsFC between the amygdala and PFC were observed, particularly in the superficial amygdala. RsFC between the amygdala and the dorsal lateral PFC was significantly decreased in the SZ group, whereas rsFC between the amygdyala and the ventral PFC was significantly decreased in the BD group.


These results strongly suggest dorsal vs ventral PFC differentiation in amygdala-PFC neural system abnormalities between SZ and BD. These regional differences in SZ and BD may give rise to the differences in clinical characteristics observed in SZ and BD, and may implicate potential avenues for differentiating the 2 disorders during early stages of illness.


amygdala; bipolar disorder; functional connectivity; prefrontal cortex; resting state; schizophrenia

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