Structural and metabolic differentiation between bipolar disorder with psychosis and substance-induced psychosis: An integrated MRI/PET study

A. C. Altamura, G. Delvecchio, G. Marotta, L. Oldani, A. Pigoni, V. Ciappolino, E. Caletti, C. Rovera, C. Dobrea, C. Arici, B. Benatti, G. Camuri, C. Prunas, R. A. Paoli, B. Dell'osso, C. Cinnante, F. M. Triulzi, P. Brambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Bipolar disorder (BD) may be characterized by the presence of psychotic symptoms and comorbid substance abuse. In this context, structural and metabolic dysfunctions have been reported in both BD with psychosis and addiction, separately. In this study, we aimed at identifying neural substrates differentiating psychotic BD, with or without substance abuse, versus substance-induced psychosis (SIP) by coupling, for the first time, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). Methods Twenty-seven BD type I psychotic patients with (n = 10) or without (n = 17) substance abuse, 16 SIP patients and 54 healthy controls were enrolled in this study. 3T MRI and 18-FDG-PET scanning were acquired. Results Gray matter (GM) volume and cerebral metabolism reductions in temporal cortices were observed in all patients compared to healthy controls. Moreover, a distinct pattern of fronto-limbic alterations were found in patients with substance abuse. Specifically, BD patients with substance abuse showed volume reductions in ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate, insula and thalamus, whereas SIP patients in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate. Common alterations in cerebellum, parahippocampus and posterior cingulate were found in both BD with substance abuse and SIP. Finally, a unique pattern of GM volumes reduction, with concomitant increased of striatal metabolism, were observed in SIP patients. Conclusions These findings contribute to shed light on the identification of common and distinct neural markers associated with bipolar psychosis and substance abuse. Future longitudinal studies should explore the effect of single substances of abuse in patients at the first-episode of BD and substance-induced psychosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cerebral metabolism
  • Gray matter
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Substance-induced psychosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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