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Journal Article

Cerebral correlates of abnormal emotion conflict processing in euthymic bipolar patients: A functional MRI study

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Favre, P., Polosan, M., Pichat, C., Bougerol, T., & Baciu, M. (2015). Cerebral correlates of abnormal emotion conflict processing in euthymic bipolar patients: A functional MRI study. PLoS One, 10(8): e0134961. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134961.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-F867-C
Background Patients with bipolar disorder experience cognitive and emotional impairment that may persist even during the euthymic state of the disease. These persistent symptoms in bipolar patients (BP) may be characterized by disturbances of emotion regulation and related fronto-limbic brain circuitry. The present study aims to investigate the modulation of fronto-limbic activity and connectivity in BP by the processing of emotional conflict. Methods Fourteen euthymic BP and 13 matched healthy subjects (HS) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing a word-face emotional Stroop task designed to dissociate the monitoring/generation of emotional conflict from its resolution. Functional connectivity was determined by means of psychophysiological interaction (PPI) approach. Results Relative to HS, BP were slower to process incongruent stimuli, reflecting higher amount of behavioral interference during emotional Stroop. Furthermore, BP showed decreased activation of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) during the monitoring and a lack of bilateral amygdala deactivation during the resolution of the emotional conflict. In addition, during conflict monitoring, BP showed abnormal positive connectivity between the right DLPFC and several regions of the default mode network. Conclusions Overall, our results highlighted dysfunctional processing of the emotion conflict in euthymic BP that may be subtended by abnormal activity and connectivity of the DLPFC during the conflict monitoring, which, in turn, leads to failure of amygdala deactivation during the resolution of the conflict. Emotional dysregulation in BP may be underpinned by a lack of top-down cognitive control and a difficulty to focus on the task due to persistent self-oriented attention.