Disease-discordant twin structural MRI studies on affective disorders

G. Delvecchio, A. Pigoni, I. E. Bauer, J. C. Soares, P. Brambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have identified neural structures implicated in the pathophysiology of mood disorders, especially bipolar disorder (BD) and major depressive disorder (MDD). However, the role of genetic and environmental influences on such brain deficits is still unclear. In this context, the present review summarizes the current evidence from structural MRI and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) studies on twin samples concordant or discordant for BD or MDD, with the aim of clarifying the role of genetic and environmental risk factors on brain alterations. Although the results showed a complex interplay between gene and environment in affective disorders, the evidence seem to underline that both genetic and environmental risk factors have an impact on brain areas and vulnerability to MDD and BD. However, the precise mechanism of action and the interaction between these factors still needs to be unveiled. Therefore, future larger studies on concordant or discordant twins should be encouraged, because this population provides a unique opportunity to probe separately genetic and environmental markers of disease vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-471
Number of pages13
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Concordant twins
  • Discordant twins
  • DTI
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Structural MRI
  • Twins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Disease-discordant twin structural MRI studies on affective disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this