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Front Neurosci. 2019 Sep 13;13:971. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00971. eCollection 2019.

Structural and Functional Connectivity of the Anterior Cingulate Cortex in Patients With Borderline Personality Disorder.

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Medical Psychological Center, The Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, China.
Center for Studies of Psychological Application, School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China.
Medical Psychological Institute, Central South University, Changsha, China.
Department of Radiology, The Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, China.



Emerging evidences supported the hypothesis that emotional dysregulation results from aberrant connectivity within the fronto-limbic neural networks in patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Considering its important role in emotional regulation, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) has not yet been fully explored in BPD patients. Therefore, using the seed-based resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) and probabilistic fiber tracking, we aimed to explore the alterations of functional and structural connectivity (SC) of the ACC in patients with BPD.


A cohort of 50 unmedicated, young BPD patients and 54 sex-, age-, and education-matched healthy controls (HCs) completed psychological tests and underwent rs-fMRI and diffuse tensor imaging (DTI) scanning. Rs-FC analysis and probabilistic fiber tracking were used to plot SC and FC of the ACC.


With the left ACC selected as a seed, BPD patients exhibited increased rsFC and abnormal SC with the right middle frontal gyrus (MFG), and decreased rsFC with the left middle temporal gyrus (MTG), compared with HCs. Additionally, negative cognitive emotion regulation and depressive symptoms both correlated negatively with the rsFC of the left ACC in BPD patients.


Abnormal SC and FC of the ACC underlie the deficient emotional regulation circuitry in BPD patients. Such alterations may be important biomarkers of BPD and thus could point to potential BPD treatment targets.


anterior cingulate cortex; borderline personality disorder; emotion; probabilistic fiber tracking; resting state functional connectivity

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