To date, most studies of white matter changes in Bipolar Disorder (BD) have been conducted in older subjects and with well-established disorders. Studies of young people who are closer to their illness onset may help to identify core neurobiological characteristics and separate these from consequences of repeated illness episodes or prolonged treatment. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to examine white matter microstructural changes in 58 young patients with BD (mean age 23 years; range 16-30 years) and 40 controls. Whole brain voxelwise measures of fractional anisotropy (FA), parallel diffusivity (λ//) and radial diffusivity (λ⊥) were calculated for all subjects. White matter microstructure differences (decreased FA corrected p < .05) were found between the patients with BD and controls in the genu, body and splenium of the corpus callosum as well as the superior and anterior corona radiata. In addition, significantly increased radial diffusivity (p < .01) was found in the BD group. Neuroimaging studies of young patients with BD may help to clarify neurodevelopmental aspects of the illness and for identifying biomarkers of disease onset and progression. Our findings provide evidence of microstructural white matter changes early in the course of illness within the corpus callosum and the nature of these changes suggest they are associated with abnormalities in the myelination of axons. © 2013 Lagopoulos et al.
Lagopoulos, J., Hermens, D. F., Hatton, S. N., Tobias-Webb, J., Griffiths, K., Naismith, S. L., … Hickie, I. B. (2013). Microstructural White Matter Changes in the Corpus Callosum of Young People with Bipolar Disorder: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study. PLoS ONE, 8(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0059108