The association of sleep and physical activity with integrity of white matter microstructure in bipolar disorder patients and healthy controls

Sanne Verkooijen, Remi Stevelink, Lucija Abramovic, Christiaan H Vinkers, Roel A Ophoff, René S Kahn, Marco P M Boks, Neeltje E M van Haren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate how the sleep disruptions and irregular physical activity levels that are prominent features of bipolar disorder (BD) relate to white matter microstructure in patients and controls. Diffusion tension imaging (DTI) and 14-day actigraphy recordings were obtained in 51 BD I patients and 55 age-and-gender-matched healthy controls. Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) was used for voxelwise analysis of the association between fractional anisotropy (FA) and sleep and activity characteristics in the overall sample. Next, we investigated whether the relation between sleep and activity and DTI measures differed for patients and controls. Physical activity was related to increased integrity of white matter microstructure regardless of bipolar diagnosis. The relationship between sleep and white matter microstructure was more equivocal; we found an expected association between higher FA and effective sleep in controls but opposite patterns in bipolar patients. Confounding factors such as antipsychotic medication use are a likely explanation for these contrasting findings and highlight the need for further study of medication-related effects on white matter integrity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatry Research: Neuroimaging
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Anisotropy
  • Bipolar Disorder/diagnostic imaging
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging/methods
  • Exercise/physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sleep/physiology
  • White Matter/diagnostic imaging

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