New gene linked to bipolar disorder

Oct 03, 2006

A new gene linked to both depression and bipolar disorder has been identified by UCL (University College London) and Danish researchers.

The collaboration, led by Professor Hugh Gurling at UCL and Professor Ole Mors at the University of Aarhus, first looked at bipolar cases in families living in the UK and in Denmark, and then at large numbers of unrelated people with bipolar disorder. The results of the genetic searches, published in the October issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, identified the gene – known as Slynar – which is found on chromosome 12.

Bipolar disorder is known to run strongly in families, but the Slynar gene is one of just three genes now known to be implicated in susceptibility to the disorder. This gene appears to be present in around 10 per cent of bipolar disorder cases. Previous studies of families have already shown that there are multiple genetic subtypes of the disorder, but progress in identifying the exact genes responsible has been slow because groups of families inherit different susceptibility genes.

The Slynar gene is normally found in the brain, but in bipolar disorder has an abnormal effect due to mutations in the gene. However, researchers do not yet know what the gene’s normal function is or how these mutations might be contributing to the disorder.

Professor Hugh Gurling, UCL Department of Mental Health Sciences, says: “The next step is to determine the role of the Slynar gene in the brain and how abnormalities in this gene may cause bipolar disorder. Using techniques such as animal models will help us to fully understand the mechanisms behind this gene and explore how we might be able to intervene in these mechanisms, to help people with the disorder.

“We hope our discovery will eventually lead to new treatments for depression and bipolar disorder, including possible preventive strategies, for example with drugs or even through nutritional intervention.”

Around one in every 200 people in the UK develops bipolar and other related mood disorders. Signs of depression include losing weight, feeling totally negative about oneself, feel hopeless about the future and sometimes ending up in a depressive stupor in bed, unable to move, eat, drink or talk. People with bipolar disorder may also experience extreme mood highs, overactivity, increased libido, sleeplessness and grandiose delusions.

Source: University College London

Explore further: Stress reaction may be in your dad's DNA, study finds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New link identified for bipolar disorder

Jun 17, 2010

Lithium has been established for more than 50 years as one of the most effective treatments for manic depression, clinically termed bipolar disorder.

Gene knockout may cheer up mice

Nov 12, 2009

Removing the PKCI/HINT1 gene from mice has an anti-depressant-like and anxiolytic-like effect. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience applied a battery of behavioral tests to the PKCI/HINT1 knocko ...

Faulty body clock may make kids bipolar

Nov 12, 2009

Malfunctioning circadian clock genes may be responsible for bipolar disorder in children. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Psychiatry found four versions of the regulatory gene RORB that were associated with p ...

Recommended for you

Science of romantic relationships includes gene factor

20 minutes ago

(Medical Xpress)—Adolescents worry about passing tests, winning games, lost phones, fractured bones—and whether or not they will ever really fall in love. Three Chinese researchers have focused on that ...

Stress reaction may be in your dad's DNA, study finds

Nov 21, 2014

Stress in this generation could mean resilience in the next, a new study suggests. Male mice subjected to unpredictable stressors produced offspring that showed more flexible coping strategies when under ...

More genetic clues found in a severe food allergy

Nov 21, 2014

Scientists have identified four new genes associated with the severe food allergy eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). Because the genes appear to have roles in other allergic diseases and in inflammation, the ...

Brain-dwelling worm in UK man's head sequenced

Nov 20, 2014

For the first time, the genome of a rarely seen tapeworm has been sequenced. The genetic information of this invasive parasite, which lived for four years in a UK resident's brain, offers new opportunities ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.