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