Early-life adverse events or childhood adversities (CAs) are stressors and harmful experiences severely impacting on a child's wellbeing and development. Examples of CAs include parental neglect, emotional and physical abuse and bullying. Even though the prevalence of CAs and their psychological effects in both healthy and psychiatric populations is established, only a paucity of studies have investigated the neurobiological firms associated with CAs in bipolar disorder (BD). In particular, the exact neural mechanisms and trajectories of biopsychosocial models integrating both environmental and genetic effects are still debated. Considering the potential impact of CAs on BD, including its clinical manifestations, we reviewed existing literature discussing the association between CAs and brain alterations in BD patients. Results showed that CAs are associated with volume alterations of several grey matter regions including the hippocampus, thalamus, amygdala and frontal cortex. A handful of studies suggest the presence of alterations in the corpus callosum and the pre-fronto-limbic connectivity at rest. Alterations in these regions of the brain of patients with BD are possibly due to the effect of stress produced by CAs, being hippocampus part of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis and thalamus together with amygdala filtering sensory information and regulating emotional responses. However, results are mixed possibly due to the heterogeneity of methods and study design. Future neuroimaging studies disentangling between different types of CAs or differentiating between BD sub-types are needed in order to understand the link between CAs and BD.

Childhood adversities and bipolar disorder: a neuroimaging focus

Zovetti, Niccolò;Perlini, Cinzia;Bellani, Marcella
2022

Abstract

Early-life adverse events or childhood adversities (CAs) are stressors and harmful experiences severely impacting on a child's wellbeing and development. Examples of CAs include parental neglect, emotional and physical abuse and bullying. Even though the prevalence of CAs and their psychological effects in both healthy and psychiatric populations is established, only a paucity of studies have investigated the neurobiological firms associated with CAs in bipolar disorder (BD). In particular, the exact neural mechanisms and trajectories of biopsychosocial models integrating both environmental and genetic effects are still debated. Considering the potential impact of CAs on BD, including its clinical manifestations, we reviewed existing literature discussing the association between CAs and brain alterations in BD patients. Results showed that CAs are associated with volume alterations of several grey matter regions including the hippocampus, thalamus, amygdala and frontal cortex. A handful of studies suggest the presence of alterations in the corpus callosum and the pre-fronto-limbic connectivity at rest. Alterations in these regions of the brain of patients with BD are possibly due to the effect of stress produced by CAs, being hippocampus part of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis and thalamus together with amygdala filtering sensory information and regulating emotional responses. However, results are mixed possibly due to the heterogeneity of methods and study design. Future neuroimaging studies disentangling between different types of CAs or differentiating between BD sub-types are needed in order to understand the link between CAs and BD.
bipolar disorder
brain imaging
childhood adversity
childhood trauma
early-life events
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1057496
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