Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, two of the most severe psychiatric illnesses, have historically been regarded as dichotomous entities but share many features of the premorbid course, clinical profile, genetic factors and treatment approaches. Studies focusing on neuroimaging findings have received considerable attention, as they plead for an improved understanding of the brain regions involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In this review, we summarize the main magnetic resonance imaging findings in both disorders, aiming at exploring the neuroanatomical and functional similarities and differences between the two. The findings show that gray and white matter structural changes and functional dysconnectivity predominate in the frontal and limbic areas and the frontotemporal circuitry of the brain areas involved in the integration of executive, cognitive and affective functions, commonly affected in both disorders. Available evidence points to a considerable overlap in the affected regions between the two conditions, therefore possibly placing them at opposite ends of a psychosis continuum.
- bipolar disorder
- magnetic resonance imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Behavioral Neuroscience