Relationship of cerebrospinal fluid glucose metabolites to MRI deep white matter hyperintensities and treatment resistance in bipolar disorder patients

William T. Regenold, K. Calvin Hisley, Pornima Phatak, Christopher M. Marano, Abraham Obuchowski, David M. Lefkowitz, Amritpal Sassan, Sameer Ohri, Tony L. Phillips, Narveen Dosanjh, Robert R. Conley, Rao Gullapalli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objectives: Both diabetes mellitus and magnetic resonance image (MRI) deep white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) are more common in bipolar disorder (BD) patients than in matched controls. Deep - as opposed to periventricular - WMHs and diabetes are associated with treatment resistance and poorer outcome. This study investigated whether brain glucose metabolism by the polyol pathway - a pathway linked to nervous tissue disease in diabetes - is related to deep WMH volume and treatment resistance in BD patients. Methods: Volumes of fluid-attenuated inversion recovery WMHs were quantified and correlated with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of glucose metabolites in 20 nondiabetic patients with BD and nondiabetic comparison subjects with schizophrenia (n = 15) or transient neurologic symptoms (neurologic controls, n = 15). Results: BD patients, but not schizophrenic patients, had significantly greater volumes of deep but not periventricular WMHs compared to neurologic controls. BD subjects also had significantly greater CSF concentrations of sorbitol and fructose (the polyol pathway metabolites of glucose) compared to controls. Significant positive correlations between CSF metabolites and WMH volumes were found only in the BD group and were between deep WMH volumes and CSF sorbitol (ρ = 0.487, p = 0.029) and fructose (ρ = 0.474, p = 0.035). An index of treatment resistance correlated significantly with deep WMH volume (ρ = 0.578, p = 0.008), sorbitol (ρ = 0.542, p = 0.013), and fructose (ρ = 0.692, p = 0.001) in BD subjects but not in other subjects. Conclusions: This is the first reported evidence of relationships between abnormal brain glucose metabolism and both deep WMHs and treatment resistance in a group of BD patients. Further studies are necessary to determine the significance of these findings to BD pathophysiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-764
Number of pages12
JournalBipolar Disorders
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Fructose
  • Glucose hyperintensities
  • Polyol
  • Sorbitol
  • White matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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