In this study, we sought to examine the intrinsic functional organization of the episodic memory network during rest in bipolar disorder (BD). The previous work suggests that deficits in intrinsic functional connectivity may account for impaired memory performance. We hypothesized that regions involved in episodic memory processing would reveal aberrant functional connectivity in patients with bipolar disorder. We examined 21 patients with BD and 21 healthy matched controls who underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a resting condition. We did a seed-based functional connectivity analysis (SBA), using the regions of the episodic memory network that showed a significantly different activation pattern during task-related fMRI as seeds. The functional connectivity scores (FC) were further correlated with episodic memory task performance. Our results revealed decreased FC scores within frontal areas and between frontal and temporal/hippocampal/limbic regions in BD patients in comparison with controls. We observed higher FC in BD patients compared with controls between frontal and limbic regions. The decrease in fronto-frontal functional connectivity in BD patients showed a significant positive association with episodic memory performance. The association between task-independent dysfunctional frontal-limbic FC and episodic memory performance may be relevant for current pathophysiological models of the disease.
Keywords: Bipolar disorders; Frontal-limbic network; Resting state fMRI.
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