Background: Impulsive behaviours in patients with cluster B personality disorders are associated with low glucose metabolism and regional cerebral blood flow in the frontal cortex and subcortical structures. The aim of this study is to confirm the presence of a particular pattern of brain perfusion in a sample of borderline (BPD) and anti-social personality disorder (ASPD) patients using brain perfusion single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).
Methods: A brain perfusion SPECT study was performed in 37 patients with BPD or ASPD (and no Axis I diagnosis) and 34 healthy control participants. Data were acquired on a triple head Toshiba gamma camera. Scatter and attenuation correction was done. Reconstructed SPECT images were analyzed by Statistical Parametrical Mapping (SPM99).
Results: There were no significant differences in age and gender distributions between the patients and the healthy controls. With regard to the functional imaging results, patients were characterized by a reduced regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in right temporal and prefrontal brain areas, including the right lateral temporal cortex (BA 21), the right frontopolar cortex (BA 10) and the right ventrolateral prefontal cortex (BA 47).
Conclusions: Patients with BPD and ASPD who showed impulsive behaviour have diminished rCBF in areas of the right prefrontal and temporal cortex.