A preliminary investigation of corpus callosum and anterior commissure aberrations in aggressive youth with bipolar disorders

Kirti Saxena, Leanne Tamm, Annie Walley, Alex Simmons, Nancy Rollins, Jonathan Chia, Jair C. Soares, Graham J. Emslie, Xin Fan, Hao Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objective: Although behavioral deficits in bipolar disorder (BPD) are well described, the specific brain white matter (WM) disruptions have not been completely characterized, and neural mechanisms underlying dysfunction in BPD are not well established, particularly for youth with BPD and aggression. This preliminary study utilized diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to investigate commissural tracts (corpus callosum [CC] and anterior commissure [AC]) in youth with BPD, because disruption of interhemispheric communication may contribute to the emotional deficits that are characteristic of the illness. Method: DTI was used to investigate WM in 10 youth (7-17 years of age) with BPD and 10 typically developing age-matched controls. Tract-based spatial statistics voxel-wise analysis was used to compare fractional anisotropy (FA) of the two groups. We specifically focused on five subdivisions of the midsagittal CC as well as on the decussation of AC, which connects the temporal lobes. Exploratory correlations between FA values and life history of aggression scores were calculated for the BPD group. Results: Youth with BPD had significantly lower FA values in the callosal genu and AC. FA values in the AC were negatively correlated with a life history of aggression in the BPD group. Conclusions: These results contribute to a growing literature implicating a role for the genu of the CC in BPD and are the first to report WM variations in the AC of children with BPD. Taken together with the correlational data for aggression and the role of the AC in emotional processing, our data provide preliminary evidence for a possible association between the structural integrity of the WM of the AC and aggression in pediatric BPD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-119
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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