Background: Delusional disorder has been the subject of very little investigation using brain imaging.
Aims: To examine potential structural and/or functional brain abnormalities in this disorder.
Method: We used structural imaging (voxel-based morphometry, VBM) and functional imaging (during performance of the n-back task and whole-brain resting connectivity analysis) to examine 22 patients meeting DSM-IV criteria for delusional disorder and 44 matched healthy controls.
Results: The patients showed grey matter reductions in the medial frontal/anterior cingulate cortex and bilateral insula on unmodulated (but not on modulated) VBM analysis, failure of de-activation in the medial frontal/anterior cingulate cortex during performance of the n-back task, and decreased resting-state connectivity in the bilateral insula.
Conclusions: The findings provide evidence of brain abnormality in the medial frontal/anterior cingulate cortex and insula in delusional disorder. A role for the former region in the pathogenesis of delusions is consistent with several other lines of evidence.
© The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2016.