An MRI study of pituitary volume and parasuicidal behavior in teenagers with first-presentation borderline personality disorder

Psychiatry Res. 2008 Apr 15;162(3):273-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2007.12.003. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


This structural magnetic resonance imaging study examined the relationship between pituitary gland volume (PGV) and lifetime number of parasuicidal behaviors in a first-presentation, teenage borderline personality disorder (BPD) sample with minimal exposure to treatment. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that age and number of parasuicidal behaviors were significant predictors of PGV. These findings indicate that parasuicidal behavior in BPD might be associated with greater activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Further studies are required using direct neuroendocrine measures and exploring other parameters of self-injurious behavior, such as recency of self-injurious behavior, intent to die and medical threat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / physiopathology
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiopathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Pituitary Gland / anatomy & histology*
  • Pituitary Gland / physiopathology
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiopathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*