CNS Spectrums

Original Research

Amygdalar Volume in Borderline Personality Disorder With and Without Comorbid Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: A Meta-analysis

Claudia P. de-Almeidaa1, Amy Wenzela2, Camila S. de-Carvalhoa1, Vania B. Powella1, César Araújo-Netoa3, Lucas C. Quarantinia1 and Irismar R. de-Oliveiraa1 c1

a1 Department of Neurosciences and Mental Health, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil

a2 Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

a3 Department of Medicine, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil

Abstract

Introduction Four studies have found a smaller amygdalar volume in patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) relative to controls, whereas four other studies have found similar amygdalar volume in BPD patients relative to controls. This study aims to compare amygdalar volumes of BPD patients with controls, and also to compare BPD patients with and without post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with controls in order to determine whether PTSD can explain the heterogeneity of findings.

Method Systematic review and meta-analysis of magnetic resonance imaging studies that measured amygdalar volumes in BPD patients and healthy controls.

Findings A significant reduction of amygdalar volumes in BPD patients was confirmed (p < .001). However, data from the studies that discriminated BPD patients with and without PTSD indicated that amygdalar volumes were significantly smaller in BPD patients without PTSD relative to controls (left: p = .02; right: p = .05), but not in BPD patients with PTSD relative to controls (left: p = .08; right: p = .20).

Conclusion This meta-analysis suggests that amygdalar volumes are reduced in patients with BPD. This pattern is confirmed in BPD patients without PTSD, but not in BPD patients with PTSD, raising the possibility that reduced amygdalar volume in BPD patients cannot be explained by comorbid PTSD.

(Received February 02 2012)

(Accepted February 18 2012)

(Online publication May 11 2012)

Keywords

  • borderline personality disorder;
  • amygdala;
  • meta-analysis;
  • magnetic resonance imaging;
  • post-traumatic stress disorder

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: Irismar Reis de Oliveira, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosciences and Mental Health, Federal University of Bahia, Avenida Reitor Miguel Calmon, s/no, Vale do Canela, Salvador, Bahia, 40110-905, Brazil. Tel: 55-71-32417154, Fax: 55-71-32417154. Web site: http://www.trial-basedcognitivetherapy.com.(E-mail: irismar.oliveira@uol.com.br) [I.R. d-O](E-mail: claudinhapa@yahoo.com.br) [C.P. d-A](E-mail: awenzel@dramywenzel.com) [A.W](E-mail: camila_seixas@yahoo.com.br) [C.S. d-C](E-mail: vania_powell@yahoo.com.br) [V.B.P](E-mail: caaneto@gmail.com) [C.A-N](E-mail: quarantini@gmail.com) [L.C.Q]

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