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Brain functional changes across mood states in bipolar disorder: from a large-scale network perspective.

Psychological Medicine 2023 December 13
BACKGROUND: Exploring the neural basis related to different mood states is a critical issue for understanding the pathophysiology underlying mood switching in bipolar disorder (BD), but research has been scarce and inconsistent.

METHODS: Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired from 162 patients with BD: 33 (hypo)manic, 64 euthymic, and 65 depressive, and 80 healthy controls (HCs). The differences of large-scale brain network functional connectivity (FC) between the four groups were compared and correlated with clinical characteristics. To validate the generalizability of our findings, we recruited a small longitudinal independent sample of BD patients (n = 11). In addition, we examined topological nodal properties across four groups as exploratory analysis.

RESULTS: A specific strengthened pattern of network FC, predominantly involving the default mode network (DMN), was observed in (hypo)manic patients when compared with HCs and bipolar patients in other mood states. Longitudinal observation revealed an increase in several network FCs in patients during (hypo)manic episode. Both samples evidenced an increase in the FC between the DMN and ventral attention network, and between the DMN and limbic network (LN) related to (hypo)mania. The altered network connections were correlated with mania severity and positive affect. Bipolar depressive patients exhibited decreased FC within the LN compared with HCs. The exploratory analysis also revealed an increase in degree in (hypo)manic patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings identify a distributed pattern of large-scale network disturbances in the unique context of (hypo)mania and thus provide new evidence for our understanding of the neural mechanism of BD.

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