Gray matter brain volumes in childhood-maltreated patients with bipolar disorder type I: A voxel-based morphometric study
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BACKGROUND: Childhood maltreatment (CM) may be related to clinical expression and outcome of bipolar disorder (BD). Several neuroimaging studies have detected brain morphological changes in specific neural networks of adults who suffered maltreatment in their childhood. We investigated alterations in gray matter volume (GMV) to determine a possible neuroanatomical basis of vulnerability in patients with CM having type I BD (BD-I). METHODS: We assessed 39 euthymic DSM-IV BD-I patients with (n=20) and without (n=19) a history of CM and 20 healthy controls without maltreatment as defined by the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to compare GMV differences between patients and controls and perform linear correlations in overall BD group between GMV and CTQ scores. RESULTS: BD-I patients had significant negative correlations between CTQ total score and GMV in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the right thalamus; between physical abuse and GMV in the right dorsolateral PFC; between physical neglect and GMV in the thalamus bilaterally; and between emotional neglect and GMV in the right thalamus. LIMITATIONS: Pharmacological treatment could have altered GMV findings. Results emerged only when using SVC approach. CTQ, a retrospective self-report, has the risk of potential recall bias. The cross-sectional design limits longitudinal and neurodevelopmental inferences. CONCLUSIONS: The severity of self-reported CM in BD-I patients is associated with morphological changes in GMV of specific neural networks relevant to responses to stress and to modulate emotional behavior.
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