Genetic mutation shown to cause bipolar disorder

Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Brain Science in Japan have discovered a genetic mutation that may increase the risk of bipolar disorder through a complex interplay between serotonin and mitochondrial signaling in the brain.

Image Credit: Andrii Vodolazhskyi / Shutterstock

The finding could help researchers develop more effective treatments for bipolar disorder in the future.

Although research has previously implicated these two pathways separately in bipolar disorder, no association had yet been established between serotonin levels and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Brain imaging studies have identified mitochondrial damage in patients with bipolar disorder and approximately one-fifth of individuals with mitochondrial disease also have bipolar disorder.

However, altered serotonin functioning has also been shown to play a role in the disorder because drugs that alter serotonin levels are effective at treating the condition.

Our study suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction can alter activity of serotonergic neurons in bipolar disorder, and this is the first time these two lines of evidence have been linked."

Tadafumi Kato, Study Leader

As reported in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, the researchers identified mutations in a gene called ANT1 among patients with bipolar disorder. They then examined mice that lacked ANT1 in the brain.

The team found that compared with non-mutant mice, those missing ANT1 could not retain calcium and had leakier pores. The knockout mice also demonstrated less impulsivity in behavior tests and their brains showed elevated serotonin turnover.

This hyper-serotonergic state is probably the outcome of a series of changes that begins with the loss of ANT1 and the damaged mitochondria that result. Increased serotonergic activity may then impair mitochondria even more, creating a vicious cycle.

The team found that serotonergic neurons deteriorated in a region of the brain called the dorsal raphe, an area that is also affected in Parkinson’s disease − another condition where mitochondrial dysfunction may play a key role.

Kato says the ANT1 mutation does not cause bipolar disorder, but that it is associated with an increased risk for the condition.

The study implies that therapies targeting underlying mitochondrial dysfunction may one day provide a more effective treatment for bipolar disorder than the current serotonin-targeting drugs.

Sally Robertson

Written by

Sally Robertson

Sally first developed an interest in medical communications when she took on the role of Journal Development Editor for BioMed Central (BMC), after having graduated with a degree in biomedical science from Greenwich University.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Robertson, Sally. (2019, June 18). Genetic mutation shown to cause bipolar disorder. News-Medical. Retrieved on May 15, 2021 from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180611/Genetic-mutation-shown-to-cause-bipolar-disorder.aspx.

  • MLA

    Robertson, Sally. "Genetic mutation shown to cause bipolar disorder". News-Medical. 15 May 2021. <https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180611/Genetic-mutation-shown-to-cause-bipolar-disorder.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Robertson, Sally. "Genetic mutation shown to cause bipolar disorder". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180611/Genetic-mutation-shown-to-cause-bipolar-disorder.aspx. (accessed May 15, 2021).

  • Harvard

    Robertson, Sally. 2019. Genetic mutation shown to cause bipolar disorder. News-Medical, viewed 15 May 2021, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180611/Genetic-mutation-shown-to-cause-bipolar-disorder.aspx.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
You might also like... ×
Immunity developed by SARS-CoV-2 infection can protect against E484K variants, suggests study