IMR Press / FBE / Volume 4 / Issue 7 / DOI: 10.2741/E578

Frontiers in Bioscience-Elite (FBE) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 2 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.


Emotional dysfunction as a marker of bipolar disorders

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1 INSERM, U955, IMRB, departement de Genetique, Creteil, F-94000, France
2 Universite Paris-Est, Faculte de Medecine, IFR10, Creteil, F-94000, France
3 AP-HP, Hopital Henri Mondor-Albert Chenevier, Pole de Psychiatrie, Creteil, F-94000, France
4 Fondation FondaMental, Fondation de cooperation scientifique, France
5 Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
6 Department of Psychological Medicine, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Cardiff, UK
7 Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
8 Emotion and Development Branch, Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, USA
9 Laboratoire de psychologie, Universite Victor Segalen, Bordeaux 2, France
10 Departement de Psychiatrie Adulte, CHS Charles Perrens, Bordeaux, France

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Front. Biosci. (Elite Ed) 2012, 4(7), 2622–2630;
Published: 1 June 2012

Background assessment of emotional reactivity, defined as rapid emotional responses to salient environmental events, has been neglected in mood disorders. This article reviews data showing the relevance of using emotional reactivity to better characterize bipolar mood episodes. Method We reviewed clinical data on emotional reactivity during all phases of bipolar disorders (euthymic, manic, mixed and depressive states) and brainimaging, neurochemical, genetic studies related to emotional reactivity disturbances. Result Euthymic bipolar patients show mild abnormalities (hypersensitivity to emotional stimuli and higher arousability) in comparison to controls. Both manic and mixed states are characterized by a significant increase in emotional reactivity. Furthermore, emotional reactivity may discriminate between two types of bipolar depression, the first being characterized by emotional hypo-reactivity and global behavioral inhibition, the second by emotional hyper-reactivity. Brain-imaging studies can help to identify the underlying mechanisms involved in disturbances of emotional reactivity. Conclusion Emotional reactivity can be used to refine more homogeneous pathophysiological subtypes of mood episodes. Future research should explore possible correlations between biomarkers, response to treatments and these clinical phenotypes.

Emotional reactivity
Bipolar disorders
Major depression
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