Hippocampal subfield volumes in short- and long-term lithium-treated patients with bipolar I disorder

Alessio Simonetti, Gabriele Sani, Claudia Dacquino, Fabrizio Piras, Pietro De Rossi, Carlo Caltagirone, William Coryell, Gianfranco Spalletta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: Patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder (BP) may experience hippocampal atrophy. Lithium exposure has been associated with increased hippocampal volumes. However, its effects on hippocampal subfields remain to be clarified. Methods: We investigated the effects of short- and long-term lithium exposure on the hippocampus and its subfields in patients affected by bipolar I disorder (BP-I). Hippocampal subfields and total hippocampal volumes were measured in 60 subjects divided into four groups: 15 patients with BP-I who were never exposed to lithium [no-exposure group (NE)], 15 patients with BP-I exposed to lithium for <24 months [short-exposure group (SE)], 15 patients with BP-I exposed to lithium for > 24 months [long-exposure group (LE)], and 15 healthy control subjects (HC). Results: The SE and NE groups showed smaller total hippocampal volumes and smaller bilateral cornu ammonis CA2-3, CA4-dentate gyrus (DG), presubiculum, and subiculum volumes compared with HC. The LE group showed larger total hippocampal volumes and bilateral CA2-3, left CA4-DG, left presubiculum, and right subiculum volumes compared with the NE group, and larger volumes of the right CA2-3, left CA4-DG, left presubiculum, and right subiculum compared with the SE group. No differences were found between the LE group and HC or between the SE and NE groups. Conclusions: Long-term, but not short-term, exposure to lithium treatment may exert neuroprotective effects on specific hippocampal subfields linked to disease progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-362
Number of pages11
JournalBipolar Disorders
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2016

Keywords

  • bipolar disorder
  • hippocampal subfields
  • hippocampus
  • lithium
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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