Impaired recruitment of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and hippocampus during encoding in bipolar disorder

Thilo Deckersbach, Darin D. Dougherty, Cary Savage, Stephanie McMurrich, Alan J. Fischman, Andrew Nierenberg, Gary Sachs, Scott L. Rauch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Background: The aim of the present study was to examine the functional neuroanatomy of episodic memory impairment in euthymic subjects with bipolar I disorder. There is evidence that individuals with bipolar disorder have cognitive impairments not only during mood episodes but also when they are euthymic. The most consistently reported cognitive difficulty in euthymic subjects with bipolar disorder is impairment in verbal episodic memory (i.e., the ability to learn new verbal information). Methods: The current study examined verbal learning in eight euthymic, remitted subjects with bipolar I disorder (BP-I; seven nonmedicated) and eight control subjects matched for age, gender, education, and intelligence. Subjects underwent 15O-CO 2 positron emission tomography scanning while completing a verbal learning paradigm that consisted of encoding (learning) several lists of words. Results: The BP-I subjects had more difficulties learning the lists of words compared with the control subjects. Compared with control subjects, BP-I subjects exhibited blunted regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) increases in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann's area 9/46) during encoding. Conclusions: Consistent with previous studies, subjects with BP-I were impaired in learning new verbal information. This was associated with rCBF abnormalities in brain regions involved in learning and episodic memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-146
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Episodic memory
  • PET
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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