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Front Psychiatry. 2018 Dec 20;9:704. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00704. eCollection 2018.

Topological Properties of Brain Structural Networks Represent Early Predictive Characteristics for the Occurrence of Bipolar Disorder in Patients With Major Depressive Disorder: A 7-Year Prospective Longitudinal Study.

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Department of Psychiatry, The Affiliated Brain Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.
School of Mental Health, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China.
School of Biological Sciences & Medical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China.


Bipolar disorder (BD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) are associated with different brain functional and structural abnormalities, but BD is hard to distinguish from MDD until the first manic or hypomanic episode. The aim of this study was to examine whether the topological properties of the brain structural network could be used to differentiate BD from MDD patients before their first manic/hypomanic episode. Diffusion tensor images were collected from 80 MDD patients and 53 healthy controls (HCs); 78 patients completed the follow-up study lasting 7 years. Among them, 12 patients were converted to BD and 64 patients remained MDD. Topological properties of the brain structural networks at baseline were compared among patients who converted to BD, patients who did not develop BD, and HCs. Patients who converted to BD displayed reduced nodal local efficiency in the left inferior frontal gyrus(IFG) compared with HCs and patients who did not convert to BD. There was no significant difference in the nodal global efficiency among the three groups. The findings suggest that the nodal local efficiency in the left IFG could serve as a potential biomarker to predict the conversion of MDD to BD before the occurrence of the first manic or hypomanic episode.


bipolar disorder; brain structural network; diffusion tensor imaging; follow-up study; graph theory

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