Exploring the neuroanatomical bases of psychotic features in bipolar disorder

E. Maggioni, A. C. Altamura, P. Brambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although bipolar disorder (BD) is traditionally conceptualised as one diagnostic entity, the heterogeneity of pathophysiological manifestations in BD suggests the need to classify the subtypes of the illness based on neural markers. Specifically, the presence of psychotic symptoms seems to be relevant for the clinical outcome and may have specific neuroanatomical bases. The main objective of the present review was to assess whether the distinction between psychotic BD (PBD) and non-psychotic BD (NPBD) can improve the identification of the neurobiological markers of this complex illness. To this end, we summarised the findings from the magnetic resonance imaging studies that explored the cerebral correlates of psychosis in BD in terms of grey matter volume (GMV). Overall, the results suggest the presence of peculiar GMV differences between PBD and NPBD. Specifically, psychosis in BD seems to be associated with cortical GMV deficits compared with both healthy controls and NPBD, mainly in the frontal region. Conversely, NPBD patients showed GMV deficits in selective regions of the basal ganglia when compared with the other groups. Taken together, this evidence confirms the importance to classify BD based on the psychotic dimension, which may have a specific neurobiological architecture that partially overlaps across multiple psychotic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-363
Number of pages6
JournalEpidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Grey matter volume
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • non-psychotic bipolar disorder
  • psychotic bipolar disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring the neuroanatomical bases of psychotic features in bipolar disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this