Three-dimensional mapping of hippocampal and amygdalar structure in euthymic adults with bipolar disorder not treated with lithium

Lara C. Foland-Ross, Paul M. Thompson, Catherine A. Sugar, Katherine L. Narr, Conor Penfold, Roxanne E. Vasquez, Jennifer Townsend, Jeffrey Fischer, Priya Saharan, Carrie E. Bearden, Lori L. Altshuler

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14 Scopus citations


Structural neuroimaging studies of the amygdala and hippocampus in bipolar disorder have been largely inconsistent. This may be due in part to differences in the proportion of subjects taking lithium or experiencing an acute mood state, as both factors have recently been shown to influence gray matter structure. To avoid these problems, we evaluated euthymic subjects not currently taking lithium. Thirty-two subjects with bipolar type I disorder and 32 healthy subjects were scanned using magnetic resonance imaging. Subcortical regions were manually traced, and converted to three-dimensional meshes to evaluate the main effect of bipolar illness on radial distance. Statistical analyses found no evidence for a main effect of bipolar illness in either region, although exploratory analyses found a significant age by diagnosis interaction in the right amygdala, as well as positive associations between radial distance of the left amygdala and both prior hospitalizations for mania and current medication status. These findings suggest that, when not treated with lithium or in an acute mood state, patients with bipolar disorder exhibit no structural abnormalities of the amygdala or hippocampus. Future studies, nevertheless, that further elucidate the impact of age, course of illness, and medication on amygdala structure in bipolar disorder are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - 30 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Amygdala
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Hippocampus
  • Lithium
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Mood disorder


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