Bipolar and borderline patients display differential patterns of functional connectivity among resting state networks

Pritha Das, Vince Calhoun, Gin S. Malhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bipolar disorder (BD) and borderline personality (BPD) disorder share clinical features such as emotional lability and poor interpersonal functioning but the course of illness and treatment differs in these groups, which suggests that the underlying neurobiology of BD and BPD is likely to be different. Understanding the neural mechanisms behind the pathophysiology of BD and BPD will facilitate accurate diagnosis and inform the administration of targeted treatment.Since deficits in social cognition or emotion regulation or in the self-referential processing system can give rise to these clinical features, and impairment in these domains have been observed in both patient groups, functional connectivity within and between networks subserving these processes during resting was investigated using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Data were acquired from 16 patients with BD, 14 patients with BPD, and 13 healthy controls (HC) and functional connectivity strength was correlated with scores using the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale.Functional network connectivity (FNC) patterns differentiated BD and BPD patients from HC. In BD, FNC was increased while in BPD it was decreased. In BD impaired FNC was evident primarily among networks involved in self-referential processing while in BPD it also involved the emotion regulatory network. Impaired FNC displayed an association with impulsivity in BPD and emotional clarity and emotional awareness in BD.This study shows that BD and BPD can perhaps be differentiated using resting state FNC approach and that the neural mechanisms underpinning overlapping symptoms discernibly differ between the groups. These findings provide a potential platform for elucidating the targeted effects of psychological interventions in both disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar
  • Borderline
  • FMRI
  • Functional network connectivity
  • ICA
  • Resting state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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