Neuropsychobiological aspects, comorbidity patterns and dimensional models in borderline personality disorder

Neuropsychobiology. 2010;61(4):169-79. doi: 10.1159/000297734. Epub 2010 Mar 18.


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a comorbid and disabling condition with high prevalence in psychiatric settings. The pathogenesis of BPD involves complex interactions among genetic, neurobiological and environmental factors, resulting in multiple core symptom domains such as emotional dysregulation, impulse dyscontrol, aggression, cognitive dysfunctions and dissociative states. Neurobiological studies show that symptoms and behaviors of BPD are partly associated with alterations in glutamatergic, dopaminergic and serotonergic systems. In addition, neuroimaging studies in BPD patients indicate differences in the volume and activity of specific brain regions related to emotion and impulse control, such as the prefrontal and cingulate cortex, amygdala and hippocampus. Neurobiological alterations are related to cognitive disturbances in patients with BPD and neuropsychological tests have shown abnormalities of memory, attention, language, and executive functions. The aim of the present review is to provide an updated overview of the main neuropsychobiological aspects of BPD and their relation to clinical symptoms, comorbidity patterns and dimensional models.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Borderline Personality Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / genetics
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / metabolism
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests