Emotional processing in bipolar disorder: behavioural and neuroimaging findings.
ABSTRACT Existing studies revealed that bipolar patients show an altered identification of emotional stimuli (e.g. facial expressions), however, so far modifications in early emotional processes and the regulation of emotions are less clear. In response to emotional stimuli bipolar patients show a dysfunction in a ventral-limbic brain network including the amygdala, insula, striatum, subgenual cingulate cortex, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and orbitofrontal cortex. In most studies, a relative hypoactivity of dorsal brain structures, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the dorsal anterior cingulate and the posterior cingulate cortex, has been reported in bipolar patients. This imbalance between the two networks has been proposed to underlie deficient emotion regulation in bipolar disorder.
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ABSTRACT: This fMRI study examined whether hemodynamic responses to affectively-salient stimuli were abnormally prolonged in remitted bipolar disorder, possibly representing a novel illness biomarker. A group of 18 DSM-IV bipolar I-diagnosed adults in remission and a demographically-matched control group performed an event-related fMRI gender-discrimination task in which face stimuli had task-irrelevant neutral, happy or angry expressions designed to elicit incidental emotional processing. Participants' brain activation was modeled using a "fully informed" SPM5 basis set. Mixed-model ANOVA tested for diagnostic group differences in BOLD response amplitude and shape within brain regions-of-interest selected from ALE meta-analysis of previous comparable fMRI studies. Bipolar-diagnosed patients had a generally longer duration and/or later-peaking hemodynamic response in amygdala and numerous prefrontal cortex brain regions. Data are consistent with existing models of bipolar limbic hyperactivity, but the prolonged frontolimbic response more precisely details abnormalities recognized in previous studies. Prolonged hemodynamic responses were unrelated to stimulus type, task performance, or degree of residual mood symptoms, suggesting an important novel trait vulnerability brain dysfunction in bipolar disorder. Bipolar patients also failed to engage pregenual cingulate and left orbitofrontal cortex-regions important to models of automatic emotion regulation-while engaging a delayed dorsolateral prefrontal cortex response not seen in controls. These results raise questions about whether there are meaningful relationships between bipolar dysfunction of specific ventromedial prefrontal cortex regions believed to automatically regulate emotional reactions and the prolonged responses in more lateral aspects of prefrontal cortex.Brain Imaging and Behavior 08/2013; · 2.67 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Emotion regulation deficits are a key characteristic of bipolar disorder (BD). In the present study, we asked if deficits in emotion regulation are also a vulnerability marker for BD. To this end, we investigated a healthy group of participants at high-risk for developing BD, defined on the basis of a hypomanic personality trait. We examined the neural correlates of two emotion regulation strategies, reappraisal and distraction. Twenty-two individuals with higher risk for BD and twenty-four controls were investigated in a functional magnetic resonance imaging paradigm. Participants were presented with negative, positive and neutral pictures and were either required to passively view the images, to down-regulate the emotional response by reappraising the pictures' content, or to perform a distracting arithmetic task. High-risk individuals showed increased emotional reactivity to negative stimuli, indicated by heightened amygdala activation during passive viewing. High-risk participants were also less successful in down-regulating amygdala activity using reappraisal of negative stimuli. During distraction from positive stimuli, high-risk individuals showed heightened task-related activity in the inferior parietal cortex, suggesting increased distractibility by task-irrelevant positive background stimuli. There were no differences in habitual emotion regulation as assessed by a self-report questionnaire. Generalizability of the present results is limited by the age- and education-homogenous sample and the small sample size. This is the first study to report neural correlates of increased emotional reactivity and deficient emotion regulation in healthy individuals at risk for BD. These findings suggest inefficient emotion regulation through reappraisal and distraction in individuals with high hypomanic personality who are supposed to be at higher risk to develop bipolar disorder.Journal of affective disorders 08/2013; · 3.76 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE Neuropsychological deficits and emotion dysregulation are present in symptomatic and euthymic patients with bipolar disorder. However, there is little evidence on how cognitive functioning is influenced by emotion, what the neural correlates of emotional distraction effects are, and whether such deficits are a consequence or a precursor of the disorder. The authors used functional MRI (fMRI) to investigate these questions. METHOD fMRI was used first to localize the neural network specific to a certain cognitive task (mental arithmetic) and then to test the effect of emotional distractors on this network. Euthymic patients with bipolar I disorder (N=22), two populations at high risk for developing the disorder (unaffected first-degree relatives of individuals with bipolar disorder [N=17]), and healthy participants with hypomanic personality traits [N=22]) were tested, along with three age-, gender-, and education-matched healthy comparison groups (N=22, N=17, N=24, respectively). RESULTS There were no differences in performance or activation in the task network for mental arithmetic. However, while all participants exhibited slower responses when emotional distractors were present, this response slowing was greatly enlarged in bipolar patients. Similarly, task-related activation was generally increased under emotional distraction; however, bipolar patients exhibited a further increase in right parietal activation that correlated positively with the response slowing effect. CONCLUSIONS The results suggest that emotional dysregulation leads to exacerbated neuropsychological deficits in bipolar patients, as evidenced by behavioral slowing and task-related hyperactivation. The lack of such a deficit in high-risk populations suggests that it occurs only after disease onset, rather than representing a vulnerability marker.American Journal of Psychiatry 08/2013; · 14.72 Impact Factor