Bipolar patients with a rapid cycling clinical course constitute an interesting sub-group for studies focused on the pathophysiology of the disorder, since several switches can be studied by the investigators in a short period of time. At present, functional neuroimaging techniques, as SPECT and PET, may be used for the neurobiological study of affective disorders. Few longitudinal functional neuroimaging studies assessing the different phases of bipolar disorder have been carried out. However, the published data suggest an asymmetrical temporal lobe dysfunction in depressive and manic phases of bipolar depression. Further studies with larger samples of patients are needed in order to improve our knowledge of the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder.