Altered empathy-related resting-state functional connectivity in patients with bipolar disorder

Yun-Si Liang, Shu‑zhe Zhou, Yi‑jing Zhang, Xin‑lu Cai, Yi Wang, Eric F. C. Cheung, Simon S. Y. Lui, Xin Yu, Kristoffer Hougaard Madsen, Yan‑tao Ma, Raymond C. K. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Empathy is the ability to generate emotional responses (i.e., cognitive empathy) and to make cognitive inferences (i.e., afective empathy) to other people’s emotions. Empirical evidence suggests that patients with bipolar disorder (BD) exhibit impairment in cognitive empathy, but fndings on afective empathy are inconsistent. Few studies have examined the neural mechanisms of cognitive and afective empathy in patients with BD. In this study, we examined the empathy-related restingstate functional connectivity (rsFC) in BD patients. Thirty-seven patients with BD and 42 healthy controls completed the self-report Questionnaires of Cognitive and Afective Empathy (QCAE), the Yoni behavioural task, and resting-sate fMRI brain scans. Group comparison of empathic ability was conducted. The interactions between group and empathic ability on seed-based whole brain rsFC were examined. BD patients scored lower on the Online Simulation subscale of the QCAE and showed positive correlations between cognitive empathy and the rsFC of the dorsal Medial Prefrontal Cortex (dmPFC) with the lingual gyrus. The correlations between cognitive empathy and the rsFC of the temporal–parietal junction (TPJ) with the fusiform gyrus, the cerebellum and the parahippocampus were weaker in BD patients than that in healthy controls. These fndings highlight the underlying neural mechanisms of empathy impairments in BD patients.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Number of pages10
ISSN0940-1334
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Cognitive empathy
  • Affective empathy
  • Theory of mind
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Resting-state functional connectivity

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