A brain MRI study in subjects with borderline personality disorder

In Kyoon Lyoo, Moon Hee Han, Doo Young Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Background: There have been only a few brain computed tomography imaging studies, with mostly negative findings, in subjects with borderline personality disorder (BPD). This is the first MRI study which evaluated the structural abnormalities of the brain in subjects with the sole diagnosis of BPD. Methods: Twenty-five subjects with BPD were compared with age-, gender- matched healthy comparison subjects (n = 25) on volumes of the frontal lobes, the temporal lobes, the lateral ventricles, and the cerebral hemispheres in brain magnetic resonance imaging. Results: Subjects with BPD had a significantly smaller frontal lobe compared to comparison subjects (multivariate regression analysis, t = 2.225, df = 46, P = 0.031). There were no significant differences in volumes of the temporal lobes, the lateral ventricles, and the cerebral hemispheres between subjects with and without BPD. Limitations: Strict inclusion and exclusion criteria employed in the present study may make it difficult to generalize our findings. The gray matter and white matter of the brain were not measured separately. Differences in head tilt during image acquisition were not corrected. Conclusions: The current study reports a smaller frontal lobe volume on brain MRI in subjects with BPD compared with healthy comparison subjects. This finding may serve as a potentially useful biological variable that may allow for subtyping BPD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-243
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported, in part, by a grant from the Seoul National University Hospital (#2-97-158). The authors thank Drs. Dae-Hee Kang and Joo Hun Sung, Department of Biostatistics and Preventive Medicine, the Seoul National University College of Medicine for statistical advice, Dr. Jin Kyeong Kim, Department of English, the Myongji University for proof reading, and Ms. Jin Hee Kim, Dae-woong Lily Pharmaceutical for her help in literature research.


  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Brain MR
  • Frontal lobe
  • Lateral ventricle
  • Temporal lobe


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