Cognitive performances associate with measures of white matter integrity in bipolar disorder

Sara Poletti, Irene Bollettini, Elena Mazza, Clara Locatelli, Daniele Radaelli, Benedetta Vai, Enrico Smeraldi, Cristina Colombo, Francesco Benedetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Neuropsychological deficits constitute enduring trait-like features in bipolar disorder (BD), and persist in euthymia. White matter (WM) abnormalities are one of the most consistently reported findings in neuroimaging studies of BD. We hypothesized that neuropsychological performances could correlate with WM integrity in a sample of bipolar patients in core WM tracts.

Methods Seventy-eight patients affected by BD were evaluated for verbal memory, working memory, psychomotor coordination, executive functions, attention and information processing, and verbal fluency through the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia. White matter integrity was evaluated using DTI and tract-based spatial statistics with threshold free cluster enhancement (p>0.949).

Results We observed that cognitive performances in attention and information processing, working memory, executive functions and psychomotor coordination were associated with DTI measures of WM integrity in several association fibres: inferior and superior longitudinal fasciculus, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, cingulum bundle, corpus callosum, and corona radiata. Limitation The drug treatments administered during the course of the illness could have influenced DTI measures and neurocognitive function. Other limitations include issues such as generalizability due to the lack of a control group, possible undetected past comorbidities, population stratification, and the presence of a 28% of patients which previously experienced delusions.

Conclusions This is the first study to use a validated cognitive battery to investigate the principal cognitive domains in BD. Our data confirm the importance of WM integrity as a neurobiological underpinning of cognitive deficits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-352
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume174
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2015

Keywords

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Executive functions
  • Information processing
  • Psychomotor coordination
  • White matter integrity
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Medicine(all)

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