Association between prior alcohol use disorders and decreased prefrontal gray matter volumes in bipolar I disorder patients

Fabiano G. Nery, Koji Matsuo, Mark A. Nicoletti, E. Serap Monkul, Giovana B. Zunta-Soares, John P. Hatch, Beny Lafer, Jair C. Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Up to 50% of bipolar disorder (BD) patients present a lifetime diagnosis of alcohol use disorders (AUD). BD patients with comorbid AUD, even when in remission from the AUD, have a poorer outcome and functional impairment than patients with BD alone. The neurobiological abnormalities that potentially characterize this severe subgroup of BD patients are unknown. Our goal was to investigate gray matter (GM) volume abnormalities in BD I patients with comorbid AUD. Twenty-one BD-AUD patients, 21 BD-nonAUD BD patients, and 25 healthy controls (HC), matched by age, gender, and handedness were studied. The BD-AUD patients were in remission from AUD on average for 6.8 years. 3D SPGR MRIs (TR = 25. ms, TE = 5. ms, slice thickness = 1.5. mm) were acquired from all subjects using a 1.5. T GE Signa Imaging System. We used an optimized voxel-based morphometry protocol to compare GM volumes among the groups. BD-AUD patients presented smaller GM volumes in the left medial frontal and the right anterior cingulate gyri compared to BD-nonAUD patients. BDnon-AUD patients did not present GM volume differences compared to HC. These findings provide evidence for an effect of comorbid AUD on regional brain structure of BD I patients and warrant further research on neurobiological aspects of this prevalent and severe comorbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-140
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 3 2011


  • Alcoholism
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cerebral cortex
  • Comorbidity
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Physiopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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