Altered amygdala circuits underlying valence processing among manic and depressed phases in bipolar adults

Vincent Man, June Gruber, David C. Glahn, William A. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Disruptions in affective processing characterize mood disorders, yet the neural mechanisms underlying internal state dependency in affective processes are not well understood. The present work presents a pilot investigation into state dependency among neural circuits known to be involved in processing affective information, by examining acute manic and depressive mood phases in adults with bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. Methods: The present study probed affective processes with a well-validated passive picture-viewing task amongst acutely manic (n = 8) or acutely depressed (bipolar depression: n = 11; major depression: n = 15) mood-disordered adults during functional magnetic resonance imaging. Results: Beta-series correlation analyses seeded from the amygdala revealed distinct neural circuits distinguished across current mood state rather than diagnostic boundaries. We delineated an amygdala-striatum pathway that distinguished depressed from manic mood phase, rather than between diagnostic boundaries, in processing valenced information. Specifically, we found differences in this neural response to negative, but not positive, images across clinical mood states. Limitations: As a preliminary investigation of state-dependent affective processes, the current investigation is predominantly limited by the small sample size. While it provides direction and generates hypotheses for further work, future studies need to replicate and expand the reported effects with larger samples. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the conditions under which mood state-dependent affective processes cut cross traditional diagnostic boundaries, speaking to recent advances in transdiagnostic disease mechanisms, and can guide future work examining the neural mechanisms driving symptomatology in affective disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-402
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Affect
  • Amygdala
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Mania
  • Ventral striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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