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Exaggerated neural response to emotional faces in patients with bipolar disorder and their first-degree relatives

Surguladze, S. A., Marshall, N., Schulze, K., Hall, M.-H., Walshe, M., Bramon, E., Phillips, Mary Louise, Murray, R. M. and McDonald, C. 2010. Exaggerated neural response to emotional faces in patients with bipolar disorder and their first-degree relatives. NeuroImage 53 (1) , pp. 58-64. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.05.069

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Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated abnormalities in patients with bipolardisorder, including overactivity in anterior limbic structures in response to fearful or happy facial expressions. We investigated whether such anomalies might constitute heritable deviations underlying bipolardisorder, by virtue of being detectable in unaffected relatives carrying genetic liability for illness. Twenty patients with bipolar I disorder, twenty of their unaffected 1stdegreerelatives and twenty healthy volunteers participated in functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments of facial emotion processing. In one of these experiments, the participants watched faces expressing fear of varying intensities (moderate and high), intermixed with the non-emotionalfaces, and in another experiment — faces expressing moderate or high degrees of happiness intermixed with non-emotionalfaces. Repeated measures 2 × 3 × 3 ANOVA with emotion (fear and happy), intensity (neutral, moderate, and high) as within-subjects variables and group (patients, relatives, and controls) as between-subjects variable produced two clusters of differential activation, located in medial prefrontal cortex and left putamen. Activity in medial prefrontal cortex was greater in patients and in relatives compared with healthy volunteers in response to both fearful and happy faces. Activity in left putamen in response to moderate fear was greater in patients and in relatives compared with controls. Patients (but not relatives) showed also a greater activation in response to high intensity happy faces, compared with controls. Region of Interest analysis of amygdala activation showed increased activity in left amygdala in both patients and relatives groups in response to intensively happy faces. Exaggerated medial prefrontal cortical and subcortical (putamen and amygdala) responses to emotional signals may represent heritable neurobiological abnormalities underlying bipolardisorder.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1053-8119
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 22:45

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