In vivo evaluation of cortical thickness with magnetic resonance imaging in patients with bipolar disorder


Psychology & Neuroscience




Changes in cortical thickness can be related to neuropsychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative processes. Previous studies have been conducted to characterize the pattern of changes in cortical thickness in several psychiatric diseases. The aim of the present study was to evaluate changes in cortical thickness with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with bipolar disorder. Twenty-seven patients with bipolar disorder (14 male, 36.0 ± 16.2 years old; 13 female, 41.6 ± 10.7 years old) and 40 healthy controls (16 male, 36.0 ± 10.5 years old; 24 female, 37.0 ± 4.7 years old) underwent 3T MRI. Sagittal T1-weighted magnetization prepared rapid acquisition gradient echo images were acquired (voxel size, 1.33 mm³; 128 slices; in-plane matrix resolution, 256 × 256; flip angle, 7º; repetition time, 2530 ms; echo time, 3.39 ms; inversion time, 1100 ms). Cortical segmentation was performed using FreeSurfer 4.0.5. The results indicated both thinning and thickening of the cerebral cortex in patients with bipolar disorder compared with controls, depending on gender. Significant (p < .01) thickening was observed in the right hemisphere superior-parietal cortex in female patients with bipolar disorder, and significant (p < .05) thinning was observed in the left hemisphere caudal-anterior cingulate in male patients with bipolar disorder. The other regions did not show significant differences. The results suggest that an analysis of cortical thickness with MRI in patients with bipolar disorder may allow identification of areas that may be morphologically changed compared with controls. Demonstration of these alterations will elucidate the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder and may contribute to better therapies for this disorder.

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