Objective: This study was conducted to explore differences in cortical thickness between subjects with bipolar disorder and healthy comparison subjects using cortical surface-based analysis. Methods: Brain magnetic resonance images were acquired from 25 subjects with bipolar disorder and 21 healthy comparison subjects. Cortical surface-based analysis was conducted using the Freesurfer application. Group differences in cortical thickness, defined by the distance from gray/white boundary to the pial surface, were assessed using statistical difference maps. Results: Subjects with bipolar disorder exhibited significantly decreased cortical thickness in left cingulate cortex, left middle frontal cortex, left middle occipital cortex, right medial frontal cortex, right angular cortex, right fusiform cortex and bilateral postcentral cortices, relative to healthy comparison subjects (all p < 0.001). Duration of illness in bipolar subjects was inversely correlated with the cortical thickness of the left middle frontal cortex. Conclusions: Cortical thinning was present in multiple prefrontal cortices in bipolar disorder. There was also cortical thinning in sensory and sensory association cortices, which has not been reported in previous studies using region-of-interest or voxel-based morphometry methods. Cortical thinning observed in the current study may be related to impairment of emotional, cognitive, and sensory processing in bipolar disorder but longitudinal studies will be necessary to test this hypothesis.
- Bipolar disorder
- Cortical surface-based analysis
- Cortical thickness
- Magnetic resonance imaging