Regional brain gray matter abnormalities in patients with bipolar II disorder: a comparison study with bipolar I patients and healthy controls

Neurosci Lett. 2009 May 29;456(1):44-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2009.03.077. Epub 2009 Mar 28.


Despite the high prevalence and clinical significance of bipolar II disorder (BD II), the underlying pathophysiology is not well explored in previous studies. The purpose of the current study was to investigate brain gray matter abnormalities in BD II. High resolution magnetic resonance brain images from 23 BD II patients, 23 sex- and age-matched patients with bipolar I disorder (BD I) and 23 healthy controls were acquired and processed according to the optimized voxel-based morphometry protocol. The processed gray matter tissue volumes were compared among the three groups. Both the BD II and BD I group showed gray matter deficits in the ventromedial prefrontal regions, compared to controls. The BD I group had widespread gray matter reductions in the bilateral frontal, temporal, parietal and parahippocampal cortices, compared to controls. However, gray matter reductions in these regions were not found in the BD II group. With a less conservative statistical threshold, the BD II group showed additional gray matter deficits in the anterior limbic cortices. Our data suggest that gray matter deficits in the ventromedial prefrontal and anterior limbic cortices are common in both BD II and BD I. On the other hand, different pattern of gray matter abnormalities between BD II and BD I found in this study supports that two subtypes may have different neurobiological characteristics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bipolar Disorder / classification
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy
  • Bipolar Disorder / pathology*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male


  • Antidepressive Agents