Opposing patterns of neuronal variability in the sensorimotor network mediate cyclothymic and depressive temperaments

Benedetta Conio, Paola Magioncalda, Matteo Martino, Shankar Tumati, Laura Capobianco, Andrea Escelsior, Giulia Adavastro, Daniel Russo, Mario Amore, Matilde Inglese, Georg Northoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Affective temperaments have been described since the early 20th century and may play a central role in psychiatric illnesses, such as bipolar disorder (BD). However, the neuronal basis of temperament is still unclear. We investigated the relationship of temperament with neuronal variability in the resting state signal—measured by fractional standard deviation (fSD) of Blood-Oxygen-Level Dependent signal—of the different large-scale networks, that is, sensorimotor network (SMN), along with default-mode, salience and central executive networks, in standard frequency band (SFB) and its sub-frequencies slow4 and slow5, in a large sample of healthy subject (HC, n = 109), as well as in the various temperamental subgroups (i.e., cyclothymic, hyperthymic, depressive, and irritable). A replication study on an independent dataset of 121 HC was then performed. SMN fSD positively correlated with cyclothymic z-score and was significantly increased in the cyclothymic temperament compared to the depressive temperament subgroups, in both SFB and slow4. We replicated our findings in the independent dataset. A relationship between cyclothymic temperament and neuronal variability, an index of intrinsic neuronal activity, in the SMN was found. Cyclothymic and depressive temperaments were associated with opposite changes in the SMN variability, resembling changes previously described in manic and depressive phases of BD. These findings shed a novel light on the neural basis of affective temperament and also carry important implications for the understanding of a potential dimensional continuum between affective temperaments and BD, on both psychological and neuronal levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1344-1352
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • bipolar disorder
  • neuronal variability
  • resting state fMRI
  • sensorimotor network
  • temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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