New structural brain imaging endophenotype in bipolar disorder

K. Matsuo, M. Kopecek, M. A. Nicoletti, J. P. Hatch, Y. Watanabe, F. G. Nery, G. Zunta-Soares, J. C. Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Neuroimaging studies suggest anterior-limbic structural brain abnormalities in patients with bipolar disorder (BD), but few studies have shown these abnormalities in unaffected but genetically liable family members. In this study, we report morphometric correlates of genetic risk for BD using voxel-based morphometry. In 35 BD type I (BD-I) patients, 20 unaffected first-degree relatives (UAR) of BD patients and 40 healthy control subjects underwent 3 T magnetic resonance scanner imaging. Preprocessing of images used DARTEL (diffeomorphic anatomical registration through exponentiated lie algebra) for voxel-based morphometry in SPM8 (Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, London, UK). The whole-brain analysis revealed that the gray matter (GM) volumes of the left anterior insula and right inferior frontal gyrus showed a significant main effect of diagnosis. Multiple comparison analysis showed that the BD-I patients and the UAR subjects had smaller left anterior insular GM volumes compared with the healthy subjects, the BD-I patients had smaller right inferior frontal gyrus compared with the healthy subjects. For white matter (WM) volumes, there was a significant main effect of diagnosis for medial frontal gyrus. The UAR subjects had smaller right medial frontal WM volumes compared with the healthy subjects. These findings suggest that morphometric brain abnormalities of the anterior-limbic neural substrate are associated with family history of BD, which may give insight into the pathophysiology of BD, and be a potential candidate as a morphological endophenotype of BD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-420
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • MRI
  • genetic
  • insula
  • mood disorders
  • voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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