Peripheral insulin sensitivity predicting cognitive function in euthymic bipolar disorder patients

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Objective High prevalence of insulin resistance (IR) has been reported in bipolar disorder (BD) patients. Importantly, impaired insulin sensitivity could modulate the course and treatment outcome in BD. Here, we hypothesized that insulin sensitivity could be potentially associated with the neurocognitive trajectory in euthymic BD. We aimed to examine differences in insulin sensitivity and executive function between BD patients and controls. Methods Sixty-two patients with BD receiving mood stabilizer treatment and 62 controls, matching age, sex, and body mass index, were recruited in this study. Insulin sensitivity was estimated using the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). The Wisconsin card-sorting test (WCST) was applied to test participants' ability to shift cognitive set. Group differences were measured and multivariate regression analysis was performed to examine relationships among factors. Results The results indicated that the HOMA-IR (P =.048) value in the patients with BD were significantly higher than those in controls. With regards to executive function, the BD patients performed significantly poorer than the control subjects (P <.05). Moreover, the interaction effect between BD diagnosis and HOMA-IR value on the WCST-preservation errors was significant (P =.01), and post-hoc analyses showed that the cognitive abilities were worse in the BD patients with a higher IR than in the others groups. Conclusion Insulin sensitivity is associated with the neurocognitive performance in euthymic BD patients. Although the underlying mechanisms remain unclear, interventions to improve insulin sensitivity could potentially improve the functional outcome of BD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCNS Spectrums
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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