Structural characteristics of the brain reward circuit regions in patients with bipolar I disorder: A voxel-based morphometric study

Junyong Lee, Sunyoung Choi, June Kang, Eunsoo Won, Woo Suk Tae, Min-Soo Lee, Byung-Joo Ham

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Bipolar I disorder (BD-I) is often misdiagnosed, leading to inadequate treatment and significant disability along with reduced quality of life. Recent neural models suggest that the reward circuitry is affected in bipolar disorder. The purpose of the present study was to identify structural abnormalities in the brain reward-processing neural circuitry among patients with BD-I. 21 patients with BD-I and 21 healthy controls (HC) participated in this study. Structural magnetic resonance imaging was performed. Region-of-interest (ROI) voxel-based morphometry analysis was applied to assess the presence of structural changes between the BD-I patient group and the control group. The results of the reward circuitry ROI analysis revealed lower gray matter volumes in the left ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), left dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC), and left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) in patients with BD-I compared to HC. Our results suggest that abnormalities in the brain reward-processing neural circuitry, especially those in the left VMPFC, left DMPFC, and left VLPFC, may play an important role in the pathophysiology of BD-I.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-89
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 30



  • Bipolar I disorder
  • Dorsomedial prefrontal cortex
  • Neuroimaging
  • Reward circuit
  • Ventrolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Ventromedial prefrontal cortex
  • Voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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