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The impact of limbic system morphology on facial emotion recognition in bipolar I disorder and healthy controls

Authors Bio DS, Soeiro-de-Souza M, Otaduy MC, Machado-Vieira R, Moreno RA

Received 20 December 2012

Accepted for publication 21 March 2013

Published 23 May 2013 Volume 2013:9 Pages 743—751

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S41896

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Danielle Soares Bio,1 Márcio Gerhardt Soeiro-de-Souza,1 Maria Concepción Garcia Otaduy,2 Rodrigo Machado-Vieira,3 Ricardo Alberto Moreno1

1Mood Disorders Unit, 2Institute of Radiology, Department and Institute of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; 3Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch (ETPB), National Institute of Mental Health, NIMH NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA

Introduction: Impairments in facial emotion recognition (FER) have been reported in bipolar disorder (BD) subjects during all mood states. This study aims to investigate the impact of limbic system morphology on FER scores in BD subjects and healthy controls.
Material and methods: Thirty-nine euthymic BD I (type I) subjects and 40 healthy controls were subjected to a battery of FER tests and examined with 3D structural imaging of the amygdala and hippocampus.
Results: The volume of these structures demonstrated a differential pattern of influence on FER scores in BD subjects and controls. In our control sample, larger left and right amygdala demonstrated to be associated to less recognition of sadness faces. In BD group, there was no impact of amygdala volume on FER but we observed a negative impact of the left hippocampus volume in the recognition of happiness while the right hippocampus volume positively impacted on the scores of happiness.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that amygdala and hippocampus volumes have distinct effects on FER in BD subjects compared to controls. Knowledge of the neurobiological basis of the illness may help to provide further insights on the role of treatments and psychosocial interventions for BD. Further studies should explore how these effects of amygdala and hippocampus volumes on FER are associated with social networks and social network functioning.

Keywords: bipolar disorder, social cognition, facial emotion recognition

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