Lithium remains a gold standard treatment for bipolar disorder (BD), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have contributed to clarifying its impact on neural circuitries in affected individuals. However, the specific neurobiological mechanisms through which lithium exerts its effects on brain function are not fully understood. In this review, we aimed to summarize the results of recent fMRI studies evaluating the impact of lithium on brain functional activity and connectivity in patients diagnosed with BD. We performed a literature search of available sources found in the PubMed database reported in English since 2016, when the last available review on this topic was published. Five fMRI studies in resting-state condition and six studies performed during the execution of emotional tasks met the inclusion criteria. Overall, the available evidence supports normalizing effects of lithium on brain activity and connectivity. Most of these studies reported a normalization in prefrontal regions and interconnected areas involved in emotion regulation and processing, regardless of the task employed. Importantly, lithium treatment showed distinct patterns of activity/connectivity changes compared with other treatments. Finally, lithium modulation of neural circuitries was found to be associated with clinical improvement in BD. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that selective abnormalities in neural circuitries supporting emotion processing and regulation improve during lithium treatment in BD. However, the heterogeneity of the examined studies regarding study design, sample selection, and analysis methods might limit the generalizability of the findings and lead to difficulties in comparing the results. Therefore, in future studies, larger cohorts and homogeneous experimental tasks are needed to further corroborate these findings.

The Impact of Lithium on Brain Function in Bipolar Disorder: An Updated Review of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies / E. Bergamelli, L. Del Fabro, G. Delvecchio, A. D'Agostino, P. Brambilla. - In: CNS DRUGS. - ISSN 1172-7047. - 35:12(2021), pp. 1275-1287. [10.1007/s40263-021-00869-y]

The Impact of Lithium on Brain Function in Bipolar Disorder: An Updated Review of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies

E. Bergamelli
Primo
;
L. Del Fabro
Secondo
;
G. Delvecchio
;
A. D'Agostino
Penultimo
;
P. Brambilla
Ultimo
2021

Abstract

Lithium remains a gold standard treatment for bipolar disorder (BD), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have contributed to clarifying its impact on neural circuitries in affected individuals. However, the specific neurobiological mechanisms through which lithium exerts its effects on brain function are not fully understood. In this review, we aimed to summarize the results of recent fMRI studies evaluating the impact of lithium on brain functional activity and connectivity in patients diagnosed with BD. We performed a literature search of available sources found in the PubMed database reported in English since 2016, when the last available review on this topic was published. Five fMRI studies in resting-state condition and six studies performed during the execution of emotional tasks met the inclusion criteria. Overall, the available evidence supports normalizing effects of lithium on brain activity and connectivity. Most of these studies reported a normalization in prefrontal regions and interconnected areas involved in emotion regulation and processing, regardless of the task employed. Importantly, lithium treatment showed distinct patterns of activity/connectivity changes compared with other treatments. Finally, lithium modulation of neural circuitries was found to be associated with clinical improvement in BD. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that selective abnormalities in neural circuitries supporting emotion processing and regulation improve during lithium treatment in BD. However, the heterogeneity of the examined studies regarding study design, sample selection, and analysis methods might limit the generalizability of the findings and lead to difficulties in comparing the results. Therefore, in future studies, larger cohorts and homogeneous experimental tasks are needed to further corroborate these findings.
Settore MED/25 - Psichiatria
H20_RIA18PBRAM_01 - Optimizing response to Li treatment through personalized evaluation of individuals with bipolar I disorder: the R-LiNK initiative (R-LiNK) - BRAMBILLA, PAOLO - H20_RIA - Horizon 2020_Research & Innovation Action/Innovation Action - 2018
12-nov-2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/884320
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