The oxytocin (OXT) and dopamine systems synergistically facilitate striatal reactivity. Abnormal striatal activation has repeatedly been observed in patients with bipolar disorder (BD); however, such abnormality remains unclear in BD II. Here we aimed to investigate whether the corticostriatal connectivity was altered and the possible relationships among corticostriatal connectivity, OXT, and dopamine systems in BD II. Twenty-five BD II patients, as defined by the DSM-V, and 29 healthy controls (HC) were enrolled in this study. Plasma OXT was measured and striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) availability was assessed using [99mTc]TRODAT-1 single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Brain network functional connectivity (FC) was measured during the resting-state using functional magnetic resonance imaging, and the dorsal caudate (DC) was selected as the seed region. The results showed that the OXT level was significantly lower in the BD II patients, while the striatal DAT availability was not significantly different between the BD II and HC groups. The BD II patients exhibited significantly lower FC between the DC and the executive control network (dorsolateral prefrontal, anterior cingulate cortex, and posterior parietal cortex) as compared with the HC. Only observed in HC, the DC-posterior parietal cortex FC was negatively correlated with the OXT level and striatal DAT availability. Our findings in the HC support a model in which the OXT and dopamine systems act in tandem to regulate corticostriatal circuitry, while the synergistic interaction was perturbed in BD II. Taken together, these results implied a maladaptive neuroplasticity in BD II.
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