Structural brain abnormalities in patients with type I bipolar disorder and suicidal behavior

Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging. 2017 Jul 30;265:9-17. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2017.04.012. Epub 2017 May 2.

Abstract

Some studies have identified brain morphological changes in the frontolimbic network (FLN) in bipolar subjects who attempt suicide (SA). The present study investigated neuroanatomical abnormalities in the FLN to find a possible neural signature for suicidal behavior in patients with bipolar disorder type I (BD-I). We used voxel-based morphometry to compare euthymic patients with BD-I who had attempted suicide (n=20), who had not attempted suicide (n=19) and healthy controls (HCs) (n=20). We also assessed the highest medical lethality of their previous SA. Compared to the participants who had not attempted suicide, the patients with BD-I who had attempted suicide exhibited significantly increased gray matter volume (GMV) in the right rostral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which was more pronounced and extended further to the left ACC in the high-lethality subgroup (p<0.05, with family-wise error (FWE) correction for multiple comparisons using small-volume correction). GMV in the insula and orbitofrontal cortex was also related to suicide lethality (p<0.05, FWE-corrected). The current findings suggest that morphological changes in the FLN could be a signature of previous etiopathogenic processes affecting regions related to suicidality and its severity in BD-I patients.

Keywords: Bipolar disorder; Frontolimbic network; Gray matter brain volume; Suicidal behavior; Voxel-based morphometry.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / physiopathology
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology*
  • Brain / abnormalities*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*