Widespread white matter tract aberrations in youth with familial risk for bipolar disorder

Psychiatry Res. 2015 May 30;232(2):184-92. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2015.02.007. Epub 2015 Feb 26.


Few studies have examined multiple measures of white matter (WM) differences in youth with familial risk for bipolar disorder (FR-BD). To investigate WM in the FR-BD group, we used three measures of WM structure and two methods of analysis. We used fractional anisotropy (FA), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD) to analyze diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) findings in 25 youth with familial risk for bipolar disorder, defined as having both a parent with BD and mood dysregulation, and 16 sex-, age-, and IQ-matched healthy controls. We conducted a whole brain voxelwise analysis using tract based spatial statistics (TBSS). Subsequently, we conducted a complementary atlas-based, region-of-interest analysis using Diffeomap to confirm results seen in TBSS. When TBSS was used, significant widespread between-group differences were found showing increased FA, increased AD, and decreased RD in the FR-BD group in the bilateral uncinate fasciculus, cingulum, cingulate, superior fronto-occipital fasciculus (SFOF), superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), inferior longitudinal fasciculus, and corpus callosum. Atlas-based analysis confirmed significant between-group differences, with increased FA and decreased RD in the FR-BD group in the SLF, cingulum, and SFOF. We found significant widespread WM tract aberrations in youth with familial risk for BD using two complementary methods of DTI analysis.

Keywords: Atlas-based analysis; Diffeomap; Diffusion tensor imaging; Neuroimaging; Pediatric; Tract-based spatial statistics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bipolar Disorder / genetics
  • Bipolar Disorder / metabolism
  • Bipolar Disorder / pathology*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Child
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / metabolism
  • Nerve Net / pathology
  • Risk Factors
  • White Matter / metabolism
  • White Matter / pathology*