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Keywords:

  • anterior cingulate;
  • bipolar disorder;
  • cognition;
  • executive function;
  • magnetic resonance imaging;
  • MRI

Objective:  Although research findings suggest a relationship between the function of anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and both cognitive ability and the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder (BPD), few studies have examined cognitive correlates of specific ACC subregion volumes in BPD. Therefore, the primary aim of this study was to examine the relationship between magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-derived gray and white matter volumes of ACC subregions (caudal, rostral, and subgenual) and performance on tests of executive function in 27 patients with BPD and 22 healthy subjects.

Methods:  1.5T MRI and neuropsychological assessment were conducted with all participants.

Results:  MANCOVA revealed statistically significant group differences in performance on executive function measures. However, no group differences were observed in any of the ACC white matter or gray matter regions of interest. Multiple regression analyses revealed that rostral and subgenual gray matter each interacted significantly with group in predicting performance on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. In addition, a significant interaction was observed between group and both rostral gray and white matter in predicting performance on the Trail Making Test.

Conclusions:  The results of this preliminary study support the extant literature that suggests that patients with BPD perform more poorly than healthy subjects on tests of executive function. Furthermore, the relationship between ACC subregion volumes and cognitive test performance was found to differ between patients with BPD and healthy subjects, despite comparable ACC volumes in the two groups.