Neuroanatomical voxel-based profile of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although schizophrenia (SCZ) and bipolar disorder (BD) share elements of pathology (Ellison-Wright and Bullmore, 2009), the neural mechanisms underlying these disorders are still under investigation. Up until now, many neuroimaging studies investigated the brain structural differences of SCZ and BD compared with healthy controls (HC), trying to identify the possible neuroanatomical markers for the two disorders. However, just a few studies focused on the brain structural changes between the two diagnoses. The present review summarises the findings of the voxel-based grey matter (GM) comparisons between SCZ and BD, with the objective to highlight the possible consistent anatomical differences between the two disorders. While the comparisons between patients and HC highlighted overlapping areas of GM reduction in insula and anterior cingulate cortex, the SCZ-BD comparisons suggest the presence of more generalised GM deficits in SCZ compared with BD. Indeed, in a number of studies, SCZ patients showed lower GM volumes than BD patients in fronto-temporal cortex, thalamus, hippocampus and amygdala. Conversely, only a couple of studies reported GM deficits in BD compared with SCZ, both at the level of cerebellum. In summary, the two disorders exhibit both common and specific neuroanatomical characteristics, whose knowledge is mandatory to develop innovative diagnostic and treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-316
Number of pages5
JournalEpidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Bipolar disorder
  • neuroanatomy
  • schizophrenia
  • structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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