A 7 Tesla Amygdalar-Hippocampal Shape Analysis of Lithium Response in Bipolar Disorder

Thomas L. Athey, Can Ceritoglu, Daniel J. Tward, Kwame S. Kutten, J. Raymond DePaulo, Kara Glazer, Fernando S. Goes, John R. Kelsoe, Francis Mondimore, Caroline M. Nievergelt, Kelly Rootes-Murdy, Peter P. Zandi, J. Tilak Ratnanather, Pamela B. Mahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research to discover clinically useful predictors of lithium response in patients with bipolar disorder has largely found them to be elusive. We demonstrate here that detailed neuroimaging may have the potential to fill this important gap in mood disorder therapeutics. Lithium treatment and bipolar disorder have both been shown to affect anatomy of the hippocampi and amygdalae but there is no consensus on the nature of their effects. We aimed to investigate structural surface anatomy changes in amygdala and hippocampus correlated with treatment response in bipolar disorder. Patients with bipolar disorder (N = 14) underwent lithium treatment, were classified by response status at acute and long-term time points, and scanned with 7 Tesla structural MRI. Large Deformation Diffeomorphic Metric Mapping was applied to detect local differences in hippocampal and amygdalar anatomy between lithium responders and non-responders. Anatomy was also compared to 21 healthy comparison participants. A patch of the ventral surface of the left hippocampus was found to be significantly atrophied in non-responders as compared to responders at the acute time point and was associated at a trend-level with long-term response status. We did not detect an association between response status and surface anatomy of the right hippocampus or amygdala. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first shape analysis of hippocampus and amygdala in bipolar disorder using 7 Tesla MRI. These results can inform future work investigating possible neuroimaging predictors of lithium response in bipolar disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number614010
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
StatePublished - Feb 16 2021


  • 7T MRI
  • amygdala
  • bipolar disorder
  • hippocampus
  • lithium
  • shape analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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