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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
E-pub ahead of print

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

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  • Yun-Si Liang
  • Shu-Zhe Zhou
  • Yi-Jing Zhang
  • Sino-Danish Center
  • Yi Wang
  • Eric F. C. Cheung
  • Simon S Y Lui
  • Xin Yu
  • Kristoffer H Madsen
  • Yan-Tao Ma
  • Raymond C K Chan
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Empathy is the ability to generate emotional responses (i.e., cognitive empathy) and to make cognitive inferences (i.e., affective empathy) to other people's emotions. Empirical evidence suggests that patients with bipolar disorder (BD) exhibit impairment in cognitive empathy, but findings on affective empathy are inconsistent. Few studies have examined the neural mechanisms of cognitive and affective empathy in patients with BD. In this study, we examined the empathy-related resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) in BD patients. Thirty-seven patients with BD and 42 healthy controls completed the self-report Questionnaires of Cognitive and Affective 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 findings highlight the underlying neural mechanisms of empathy impairments in BD patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
ISSN0940-1334
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jul 2021

    Research areas

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

ID: 66871871