Corpus callosum volumes in bipolar disorders and suicidal vulnerability

Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging. 2017 Apr 30;262:47-54. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2017.02.002. Epub 2017 Feb 10.


Reduced size of the corpus callosum (CC) has been associated with bipolar disorders and suicidality. Here, we aimed at investigating the relative independence of these associations in a large sample of patients. Two samples of males and females totaling 209 euthymic participants were recruited, including 72 patients with a major depressive disorder, 64 with bipolar disorders and 73 healthy controls. Among patients, 61 had a lifetime history of suicide attempt and 75 had none. Structural scans were acquired with 1.5T magnetic resonance imaging. Surface-based morphometry (Freesurfer) analysis was used to compute the volumes of the CC. In the whole sample, there was a significant reduction in the volume of mid-anterior, central, and mid-posterior (all p<0.008) CC in bipolar patients independently from suicidality, with medium effect sizes between unipolar and bipolar patients (Cohen's d between 0.46 and 0.62). In contrast, suicide attempters did not differ from non-attempters. This significant association between CC volumes and bipolar disorders was mainly found in the male sample, while a trend was found in the female sample. Within each patient group, medication had no major effect. Our study adds to the growing body of evidence linking corpus callosum alterations and bipolar disorders.

Keywords: Bipolar disorders; Corpus callosum; Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); Major depressive disorder; Suicidal behaviors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnostic imaging
  • Bipolar Disorder / pathology*
  • Corpus Callosum / diagnostic imaging
  • Corpus Callosum / pathology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnostic imaging
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Size / physiology
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide, Attempted*