Converging evidence suggests that bipolar disorder (BD) is associated with white matter (WM) abnormalities. Meta-analyses of voxel based morphometry (VBM) data is commonly performed using published coordinates, however this method is limited since it ignores non-significant data. Obtaining statistical maps from studies (T-maps) as well as raw MRI datasets increases accuracy and allows for a comprehensive analysis of clinical variables. We obtained coordinate data (7-studies), T-Maps (12-studies, including unpublished data) and raw MRI datasets (5-studies) and analysed the 24 studies using Seed-based d Mapping (SDM). A VBM analysis was conducted to verify the results in an independent sample. The meta-analysis revealed decreased WM volume in the posterior corpus callosum extending to WM in the posterior cingulate cortex. This region was significantly reduced in volume in BD patients in the independent dataset (p=0.003) but there was no association with clinical variables. We identified a robust WM volume abnormality in BD patients that may represent a trait marker of the disease and used a novel methodology to validate the findings.
Keywords: Bipolar disorder; MRI; Meta-analysis; VBM; White matter.
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