Background: There have been only a few brain computed tomography imaging studies, with mostly negative findings, in subjects with borderline personality disorder (BPD). This is the first MRI study which evaluated the structural abnormalities of the brain in subjects with the sole diagnosis of BPD.
Methods: Twenty-five subjects with BPD were compared with age-, gender-matched healthy comparison subjects (n=25) on volumes of the frontal lobes, the temporal lobes, the lateral ventricles, and the cerebral hemispheres in brain magnetic resonance imaging.
Results: Subjects with BPD had a significantly smaller frontal lobe compared to comparison subjects (multivariate regression analysis, t=2.225, df=46, P=0.031). There were no significant differences in volumes of the temporal lobes, the lateral ventricles, and the cerebral hemispheres between subjects with and without BPD.
Limitations: Strict inclusion and exclusion criteria employed in the present study may make it difficult to generalize our findings. The gray matter and white matter of the brain were not measured separately. Differences in head tilt during image acquisition were not corrected.
Conclusions: The current study reports a smaller frontal lobe volume on brain MRI in subjects with BPD compared with healthy comparison subjects. This finding may serve as a potentially useful biological variable that may allow for subtyping BPD.