Structural brain network analysis in families multiply affected with bipolar I disorder

Forde, Natalie J., O'Donoghue, Stefani, Scanlon, Cathy, Emsell, Louise, Chaddock, Chris, Leemans, Alexander, Jeurissen, Ben, Barker, Gareth J., Cannon, Dara M., Murray, Robin M., McDonald, Colm


Psychiatry Research - Neuroimaging 234 (1), p. 44-51


Disrupted structural connectivity is associated with psychiatric illnesses including bipolar disorder (BP). Here we use structural brain network analysis to investigate connectivity abnormalities in multiply affected BP type I families, to assess the utility of dysconnectivity as a biomarker and its endophenotypic potential. Magnetic resonance diffusion images for 19 BP type I patients in remission, 21 of their first degree unaffected relatives, and 18 unrelated healthy controls underwent tractography. With the automated anatomical labelling atlas being used to define nodes, a connectivity matrix was generated for each subject. Network metrics were extracted with the Brain Connectivity Toolbox and then analysed for group differences, accounting for potential confounding effects of age, gender and familial association. Whole brain analysis revealed no differences between groups. Analysis of specific mainly frontal regions, previously implicated as potentially endophenotypic by functional magnetic resonance imaging analysis of the same cohort, revealed a significant effect of group in the right medial superior frontal gyrus and left middle frontal gyrus driven by reduced organisation in patients compared with controls. The organisation of whole brain networks of those affected with BP I does not differ from their unaffected relatives or healthy controls. In discreet frontal regions, however, anatomical connectivity is disrupted in patients but not in their unaffected relatives.