Brain electrical source imaging in manic and depressive episodes of bipolar disorder




Bipolar disorder (BD) electroencephalographic (EEG) studies have reported varying results. The present study compared EEG in BD during manic and depressive episodes, using brain electrical source imaging [standardized low-resolution electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA)] to assess the cortical spatial distribution of the sources of EEG oscillation frequencies.


Two independent datasets (a total of 95 patients with bipolar I disorder, of whom 59 were female) were analyzed. Dataset #1 comprised 14 patients in a manic as well as a depressive episode. Dataset #2 comprised 26 patients in a manic episode and 55 patients in a depressive episode. From the head surface-recorded EEG, sLORETA cortical activity was computed in eight EEG frequency bands, and compared between mood states in both datasets. The results from the two datasets were combined using conjunction analysis.


Conjunction analysis yielded significant differences between mood states: In manic compared to depressive states, patients had lesser theta frequency band activity (right-hemispheric lateral lower prefrontal and anterior temporal, mainly Brodmann areas 13, 38, and 47), and greater beta-2 and beta-3 frequency band activity (extended bilateral prefrontal-to-parietal, mainly Brodmann area 6, and the cingulate).


The spatial organization of the brain's electrical oscillations differed in patients with BD between manic and depressive mood states. The brain areas implementing the main functions that show opposing abnormalities during manic and depressive episodes were affected by unduly increased or decreased activity (beta or theta). The discussion considers that facilitating (beta) or inhibiting (theta) electrical activity can in either case result in behavioral facilitation or inhibition, depending on the function of the brain area.