Smooth pursuit eye movement deficits as a biomarker for psychotic features in bipolar disorder—Findings from the PARDIP study

Svenja Brakemeier, Andreas Sprenger, Inga Meyhöfer, Jennifer E. McDowell, Leah H. Rubin, S. Kristian Hill, Matcheri S. Keshavan, Godfrey D. Pearlson, Carol A. Tamminga, Elliot S. Gershon, Sarah S. Keedy, John A. Sweeney, Brett A. Clementz, Rebekka Lencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: Smooth pursuit eye movement deficits are an established psychosis biomarker across schizophrenia, schizoaffective and psychotic bipolar disorder (BPwP). Whether smooth pursuit deficits are also seen in bipolar disorder without psychosis (BPwoP) is unclear. Here we present data from the Psychosis and Affective Research Domains and Intermediate Phenotypes (PARDIP) study comparing bipolar patients with and without psychotic features. Methods: Probands with BPwP (N = 49) and BPwoP (N = 36), and healthy controls (HC, N = 71) performed eye tracking tasks designed to evaluate specific sensorimotor components relevant for pursuit initiation and pursuit maintenance. Results: While BPwoP did not differ from either BPwP or HC on initial eye acceleration, they performed significantly better than BPwP on early (P <.01) and predictive (P =.02) pursuit maintenance measures, both without differing from HC. BPwP were impaired compared to HC on initial eye acceleration, and on early and predictive pursuit maintenance (all P <.01). In contrast to the three pursuit measures, BPwP and BPwoP were both impaired on general neurocognitive assessments in relation to HC (both P <.001), without a significant difference between the two bipolar patient groups. Conclusions: Our findings support the model that impairments of sensorimotor and cognitive processing as required for early and later predictive smooth pursuit maintenance are relatively specific to those bipolar patients with a history of psychosis. This suggests that the neural circuitry for developing feed-forward predictive models for accurate pursuit maintenance is associated with the occurrence of psychotic features in bipolar patients. In contrast, generalized neuropsychological impairments did not differentiate the two bipolar patient groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBipolar Disorders
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2019

Keywords

  • eye movements
  • mood disorders
  • psychotic disorders
  • sensorimotor processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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    Brakemeier, S., Sprenger, A., Meyhöfer, I., McDowell, J. E., Rubin, L. H., Hill, S. K., Keshavan, M. S., Pearlson, G. D., Tamminga, C. A., Gershon, E. S., Keedy, S. S., Sweeney, J. A., Clementz, B. A., & Lencer, R. (Accepted/In press). Smooth pursuit eye movement deficits as a biomarker for psychotic features in bipolar disorder—Findings from the PARDIP study. Bipolar Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1111/bdi.12865