Posterior cerebellar vermal deficits in bipolar disorder

Dajung Kim, Han Byul Cho, Stephen R. Dager, Deborah A. Yurgelun-Todd, Sujung Yoon, Junghyun H. Lee, Sun Hea Lee, Sunho Lee, Perry F. Renshaw, In Kyoon Lyoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background Based on growing evidence of the crucial role of the cerebellum in emotional regulation, we sought to identify cerebellar structural deficits in a large sample of patients with bipolar disorder (BD). Methods Cerebellar gray matter density was examined in 49 BD patients (24 medication-naive and 25 medication-treated) and 50 carefully matched healthy individuals, using voxel-based morphometry with a high-resolution spatially unbiased atlas template of the human cerebellum. This recently developed methodology is specifically optimized for the assessment of cerebellar structures. We further explored whether antimanic treatment could attenuate cerebellar structural deficits. Results BD patients showed a greater reduction in gray matter density of the posterior cerebellar regions, including the bilateral vermi and the right crus relative to healthy individuals (corrected p<.05). A stepwise linear reduction in gray matter density was observed in bilateral vermal regions between healthy individuals, medication-treated, and medication-naive BD patients. Furthermore, positive correlations of longer duration of illness with bilateral vermal gray matter deficits were observed only in medication-naive BD patients, but not in patients with medication history. Limitations This study adopted a cross-sectional design. The automatic intensity-normalization method for the measurement of cerebellar gray matter density may have a limitation in providing detailed anatomical information at a cerebellar folia level. Conclusions The current findings suggest that BD-related deficits in the posterior cerebellar regions, which appear to progress over the course of illness, could potentially be ameliorated by proper treatment with mood stabilizers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-506
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - 5 Sep 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the grants from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (Independent Investigator Award), from the Seoul National University Hospital research fund ( 04-2009-083-0 ), from the National Research Foundation of Korea ( 2012R1A2A2A01010739 ), from the Global Top 5 program from the Ewha W. University, and from the National Institute of Health ( DA015116-09 ). The funding source had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cerebellum
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Mood stabilizers


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