Risk for bipolar spectrum disorders associated with positive urgency and orbitofrontal cortical grey matter volume

Ann L. Carroll*, Katherine S.F. Damme, Lauren B. Alloy, Corinne P. Bart, Tommy H. Ng, Madison K. Titone, Jason Chein, Anna C. Cichocki, Casey C. Armstrong, Robin Nusslock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bipolar spectrum disorders (BSDs) are associated with reward hypersensitivity, impulsivity, and structural abnormalities within the brain's reward system. Using a behavioral high-risk study design based on reward sensitivity, this paper had two primary objectives: 1) investigate whether elevated positive urgency, the tendency to act rashly when experiencing extreme positive affect, is a risk for or correlate of BSDs, and 2) examine the nature of the relationship between positive urgency and grey matter volume in fronto-striatal reward regions, among individuals at differential risk for BSD. Young adults (ages 18–28) screened to be moderately reward sensitive (MReward; N = 42), highly reward sensitive (HReward; N = 48), or highly reward sensitive with a lifetime BSD (HReward + BSD; N = 32) completed a structural MRI scan and the positive urgency subscale of the UPPS-P scale. Positive urgency scores varied with BSD risk (MReward < HReward < HReward + BSD; ps≤0.05), and positive urgency interacted with BSD risk group in predicting lateral OFC volume (p <.001). Specifically, the MReward group showed a negative relationship between positive urgency and lateral OFC volume. By contrast, there was no relationship between positive urgency and lateral OFC grey matter volume among the HReward and HReward + BSD groups. The results suggest that heightened trait positive urgency is a pre-existing vulnerability for BSD that worsens with illness onset, and there is a distinct relationship between positive urgency and lateral OFC volume among individuals at high versus low risk for BSD. These findings have implications for understanding the expression and development of impulsivity in BSDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103225
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Volume36
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Bipolar spectrum disorder (BSD)
  • Grey matter volume
  • Orbitofrontal cortex (OFC)
  • Positive urgency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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