The Latest Neuroimaging Findings in Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Annegret Krause-Utz
  • Dorina Winter
  • Inga Niedtfeld
  • Christian Schmahl
Personality Disorders (C Schmahl, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Personality Disorders


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a severe mental disorder, characterized by pronounced deficits in emotion regulation, cognitive disturbances including dissociation, impulsivity, and interpersonal disturbances. Over the last decades, neuroimaging has become one of the most important methods to investigate neurobiological alterations possibly underlying core features of BPD. The aim of our article is to provide an overview of the latest neuroimaging research in BPD focusing on functional and structural MRI studies published since 2010. Findings of these studies are depicted and discussed referring to central domains of BPD psychopathology. On a neurochemical level, altered function in neurotransmitter systems including the serotonin, glutamate, and GABA systems was observed in patients with BPD. On a neural level, individuals with BPD showed structural and functional abnormalities in a fronto-limbic network including regions involved in emotion processing (e.g., amygdala, insula) and frontal brain regions implicated in regulatory control processes (e.g., anterior cingulate cortex, medial frontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex). Limbic hyperreactivity and diminished recruitment of frontal brain regions may yield a link between disturbed emotion processing and other core features of BPD such as impulsivity and interpersonal disturbances. To clarify whether findings are specific to BPD, comparisons with other clinical groups are needed.


Borderline personality disorder Dissociation Emotion regulation Functional magnetic resonance imaging Impulsivity Interpersonal disturbances Neuroimaging Pain processing Structural magnetic resonance imaging 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

All author declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annegret Krause-Utz
    • 1
  • Dorina Winter
    • 1
  • Inga Niedtfeld
    • 1
  • Christian Schmahl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and PsychotherapyCentral Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim/Heidelberg UniversityMannheimGermany

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