Diffusion kurtosis imaging of white matter in bipolar disorder

Vina M Goghari, Mavis Kusi, Mohammed K Shakeel, Clare Beasley, Szabolcs David, Alexander Leemans, Alberto De Luca, Louise Emsell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


White matter pathology likely contributes to the pathogenesis of bipolar disorder (BD). Most studies of white matter in BD have used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), but the advent of more advanced multi-shell diffusion MRI imaging offers the possibility to investigate other aspects of white matter microstructure. Diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) extends the DTI model and provides additional measures related to diffusion restriction. Here, we investigated white matter in BD by applying whole-brain voxel-based analysis (VBA) and a network-based connectivity approach using constrained spherical deconvolution tractography to assess differences in DKI and DTI metrics between BD (n = 25) and controls (n = 24). The VBA showed lower mean kurtosis in the corona radiata and posterior association fibers in BD. Regional differences in connectivity were indicated by lower mean kurtosis and kurtosis anisotropy in streamlines traversing the temporal and occipital lobes, and lower mean axial kurtosis in the right cerebellar, thalamo-subcortical pathways in BD. Significant differences were not seen in DTI metrics following FDR-correction. The DKI findings indicate altered connectivity across cortical, subcortical and cerebellar areas in BD. DKI is sensitive to different microstructural properties and is a useful complementary technique to DTI to more fully investigate white matter in BD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111341
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Early online date31 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021


  • Constrained spherical deconvolution
  • Diffusion MRI
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Tractography
  • White matter pathology


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