What is the role of white matter hypersensitivities (WMH) in the etiology of bipolar affective disorder (manic-depressive illness)?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
  • Print

White matter hyperintensities(WMH) are more common in individuals with bipolar disorder than in those without, and one study found that WMH burden appears to be associated with familiality and type of BP. The study used MRIs to measure total volume of all WMH in 45 individuals with bipolar disorder (bipolar I disorder (BP-I) with psychotic features, BP-I without psychotic features, or bipolar II disorder (BP-II)) and 7 of their unaffected relatives compared to 32 healthy subjects. Results show that BP-I patients had a significantly higher mean total volume of WMH (p < 0.05) than that of healthy subjects. In addition, researchers observed a positive linear trend by familiality and type of affectedness when comparing mean total WMH volume of all participants. [53] These findings suggest a possible structural marker for bipolar disorder.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!