Brain network analysis reveals affected connectome structure in bipolar I disorder

Guusje Collin*, Martijn P. van den Heuvel, Lucija Abramovic, Annabel Vreeker, Marcel A. de Reus, Neeltje E.M. van Haren, Marco P.M. Boks, Roel A. Ophoff, René S. Kahn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The notion that healthy brain function emerges from coordinated neural activity constrained by the brain's network of anatomical connections-i.e., the connectome-suggests that alterations in the connectome's wiring pattern may underlie brain disorders. Corroborating this hypothesis, studies in schizophrenia are indicative of altered connectome architecture including reduced communication efficiency, disruptions of central brain hubs, and affected "rich club" organization. Whether similar deficits are present in bipolar disorder is currently unknown. This study examines structural connectome topology in 216 bipolar I disorder patients as compared to 144 healthy controls, focusing in particular on central regions (i.e., brain hubs) and connections (i.e., rich club connections, interhemispheric connections) of the brain's network. We find that bipolar I disorder patients exhibit reduced global efficiency (-4.4%, P =0.002) and that this deficit relates (r = 0.56, P < 0.001) to reduced connectivity strength of interhemispheric connections (-13.0%, P = 0.001). Bipolar disorder patients were found not to show predominant alterations in the strength of brain hub connections in general, or of connections spanning brain hubs (i.e., "rich club" connections) in particular (all P > 0.1). These findings highlight a role for aberrant brain network architecture in bipolar I disorder with reduced global efficiency in association with disruptions in interhemispheric connectivity, while the central "rich club" system appears not to be particularly affected. Hum Brain Mapp 37:122-134, 2016.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-134
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Brain hubs
  • Connectome
  • Diffusion imaging
  • Rich club organization


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