Hyperintense lesions on magnetic resonance images in bipolar disorder

William M. McDonald, Larry A. Tupler, Frederick A. Marsteller, Gary S. Figiel, Sean DiSouza, Charles B. Nemeroff, K. Ranga R. Krishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Background: To examine the magnetic resonance (MR) images of bipolar patients across a wide age range for the presence of hyperintense lesions compared to age- and gender-matched control subjects. Methods: Consecutive admissions to a mood disorders unit over a 2-year period were evaluated retrospectively for the presence of bipolar disorder by DSM-III-R criteria and whether they received an MR scan. Bipolar patients (n = 70, mean age = 49.9 ± 19.7 years) were age- and gender-matched to control subjects (n = 70, mean age = 53.2 ± 18.1 years) and the MR scans were rated to assess for the presence of hyperintensites. Results: Compared to control subjects, the bipolar patients demonstrated hyperintense lesions in the subependymal region, subcortical gray nuclei, and the deep white matter. Conclusions: Hyperintense lesions in bipolar patients are found in both the subcortical white matter and gray nuclei and may play an important role in the etiology of bipolar illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)965-971
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar
  • Hyperintensities
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Mania

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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