Distinct patterns of altered quantitative T1ρ and functional BOLD response associated with history of suicide attempts in bipolar disorder

Joseph J. Shaffer, Virginia Willour, Jess G. Fiedorowicz, Gary E. Christensen, Jeffrey D. Long, Casey P. Johnson, Samantha L. Schmitz, Aislinn J. Williams, John Wemmie, Vincent A. Magnotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Despite the high risk for suicide, relatively few studies have explored the relationship between suicide and brain imaging measures in bipolar disorder. In addition, fewer studies have explored the possibility that altered brain metabolism may be associated with suicide attempt. To begin to fill in these gaps, we evaluated functional (task based fMRI) and metabolic (quantitative T1ρ) differences associated with suicide attempt in participants with bipolar disorder. Thirty-nine participants with bipolar disorder underwent fMRI during a flashing checkerboard task and 27 also underwent quantitative T1ρ. The relationship between neuroimaging and history of suicide attempt was tested using multiple regression while adjusting for age, sex, and current mood state. Differences between two measures of suicide attempt (binary: yes/no and continuous: number of attempts) were quantified using the corrected Akaike Information Criterion. Participants who had attempted suicide had greater fMRI task-related activation in visual areas and the cerebellum. The number of suicide attempts was associated with a difference in BOLD response in the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and cerebellum. Increased quantitative T1ρ was associated with number of suicide attempts in limbic, basal ganglia, and prefrontal cortex regions. This study is a secondary analysis with a modest sample size. Differences between measures of suicide history may be due to differences in statistical power. History of suicide was associated with limbic, prefrontal, and cerebellar alterations. Results comparing those with and without suicide attempts differed from results using number of suicide attempts, suggesting that these variables have different neurobiological underpinnings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
C.P.J. was supported in part by a NARSAD Young Investigator Award.

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by a generous donation by Roger Koch to the University of Iowa Foundation and NIH [R01MH111578]. Archive and storage of imaging data was supported by the University of Iowa Institute for Clinical and Translational Science [U54TR001013].

Funding Information:
J.G.F. was supported by the NIMH [K23MH083695] and NHLBI [P01HL014388].

Funding Information:
J.A.W. was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs (Merit Award), NIMH [5R01MH085724], NHLBI [R01HL113863] and a NARSAD Independent Investigator Award.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Bipolar disorder
  • MRI
  • Suicide
  • T1ρ
  • fMRI

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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