The proposed study, by using an integrated approach and combining different neuroimaging modalities, such as functional, diffusion, and perfusion magnetic resonance imaging, as well as immunological analyses, aims to investigate how different key alterations in bipolar disorder (BD) interplay and integrate them in a coherent model of the pathophysiology of this prevalent, severe, and debilitating disorder. In particular, this study will be the first to investigate and characterize the specific relationship between functional connections of the neurotransmitter-related nuclei, structural connections of the related white matter (WM) tracts, cerebral perfusion, and immune mediators. Our study will help to build a coherent model that may explain the potential basis of altered neurotransmitter signaling in terms of immune-mediated WM damage in BD, potentially representing a fundamental step for the understanding of the pathophysiology of the disorder. Our findings will be described in written papers and published in international Journals of neuroscience and psychiatry, as well as disseminated at conferences. Importantly, our study may also provide the pathophysiological background for the identification of new pharmacological targets and for the development of more specific and effective therapies for BD. In particular, immunotherapy, by effectively targeting specific and relevant immunological mechanisms, could play a role in blocking the immune-mediated damage of WM, thus representing an important future aid in the treatment of BD.
|Effective start/end date||8/1/21 → 7/31/23|
- bipolar disorder
- neurotransmitter-related nuclei
- functional-structural connectivity
- white matter
- immune system
- stress-related limbic network
- functional magnetic resonance imaging
- diffusion weighted imaging
- arterial spin labeling
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