Fronto-limbic Dysfunction in Mania Pre-Treatment and Persistent Amygdala Over-activity Post-Treatment in Pediatric Bipolar Disorder
journal contributionposted on 27.05.2011 by Alessandra M. Passarotti, John A. Sweeney, Mani N. Pavuluri
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Rationale. Neural deficits at the interface of affect and cognition may improve with pharmacotherapy in pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD). Objectives. We examined lamotrigine treatment impact on the neural interface of working memory and affect in PBD. Methods. Un-medicated, acutely-ill, patients with mania and hypomania (n=17) and healthy controls (HC; n=13) (mean age = 13.36 ± 2.55) performed an affective 2-back fMRI task with blocks of angry vs neutral faces (i.e., angry face condition) or happy vs neutral faces (i.e., happy face condition) before treatment and at follow-up, after 8-week treatment with second generation antipsychotics (SGAs) followed by 6 weeks of lamotrigine monotherapy. Results. At baseline, for the angry face condition, PBD, relative to HC, showed reduced activation in left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) and right caudate; for the happy face condition, they showed increased activation in bilateral PFC, and right amygdala and middle temporal gyrus. Post treatment, PBD showed greater activation in right amygdala relative to HC, for both conditions. Patients, relative to HC, exhibited greater changes over time in right VLPFC and amygdala, left subgenual anterior cingulated cortex (ACC) and left caudate for the angry face condition, and in right middle temporal gyrus for the happy face condition. Conclusions. Pharmacotherapy resulted in symptom improvement and normalization of higher cortical emotional and cognitive regions in patients relative to HC, suggesting that VLPFC dysfunction may be state-specific in PBD. Amygdala was overactive in PBD, relative to HC, regardless of reduction in manic symptoms, and may be a trait marker of PBD.