Research on resting functional brain networks in bipolar disorder (BP) has been unable to differentiate between disturbances related to mania or depression, which is necessary to understand the mechanisms leading to each state. Past research has also been unable to elucidate the impact of BP-related network disturbances on the organizational properties of the brain (eg, communication efficiency). Thus, the present work sought to isolate network disturbances related to BP, fractionate these into components associated with manic and depressive symptoms, and characterize the impact of disturbances on network function. Graph theory was used to analyze resting functional magnetic resonance imaging data from 60 medication-free patients meeting the criteria for BP and either a current hypomanic (n=30) or depressed (n=30) episode and 30 closely age/sex-matched healthy controls. Correction for multiple comparisons was carried out. Compared with controls, BP patients evidenced hyperconnectivity in a network involving right amygdala. Fractionation revealed that (hypo)manic symptoms were associated with hyperconnectivity in an overlapping network and disruptions in the brain's 'small-world' network organization. Depressive symptoms predicted hyperconnectivity in a network involving orbitofrontal cortex along with a less resilient global network organization. Findings provide deeper insight into the differential pathophysiological processes associated with hypomania and depression, along with the particular impact these differential processes have on network function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health