Resting-state fMRI in depressive and (hypo)manic mood states in bipolar disorders: A systematic review

Eva Claeys, Tim Mantingh, Manuel Morrens, Nefize Yalin*, Paul Stokes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
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Abnormalities in spontaneous brain activity, measured with resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI), may be key biomarkers for bipolar disorders. This systematic review compares rs-fMRI findings in people experiencing a bipolar depressive or (hypo)manic episode to bipolar euthymia and/or healthy participants.

Medline, Web of Science and Embase were searched up until April 2021. Studies without control group, or including minors, neurological co-morbidities or mixed episodes, were excluded. Qualitative synthesis was used to report results and risk of bias was assessed using the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute tool for case-control studies.

Seventy-one studies were included (3167 bipolar depressed/706 (hypo)manic). In bipolar depression, studies demonstrated default-mode (DMN) and frontoparietal network (FPN) dysfunction, altered baseline activity in the precuneus, insula, striatum, cingulate, frontal and temporal cortex, and disturbed regional homogeneity in parietal, temporal and pericentral areas. Functional connectivity was altered in thalamocortical circuits and between the cingulate cortex and precuneus. In (hypo)mania, studies reported altered functional connectivity in the amygdala, frontal and cingulate cortex. Finally, rs-fMRI disturbances in the insula and putamen correlate with depressive symptoms, cerebellar resting-state alterations could evolve with disease progression and altered amygdala connectivity might mediate lithium effects.

Our results suggest DMN and FPN dysfunction in bipolar depression, whereas local rs-fMRI alterations might differentiate mood states. Future studies should consider controlling rs-fMRI findings for potential clinical confounding factors such as medication. Considerable heterogeneity of methodology between studies limits conclusions. Standardised clinical reporting and consistent analysis approaches would increase coherence in this promising field.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110465
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry
Early online date2 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2022


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