Bipolar disorder may finally receive some answers, now that a research team led by Sven Cichon from the University of Bonn has carried out a study using an “unprecedented number of patients” from across the world. The research published in Nature Communications shows that five “risk regions” have been discovered in human DNA, which match with this particular disease. The cause of bipolar disorder, a condition which affects approximately one percent of the global population remains unknown, but the newly discovered genes could shed some light on this illness and allow scientists to study it in detail.
Scientists from the University of Bonn, the University of Basel Hospital and the Central Institute of Mental Health of Mannheim have joined forces and discovered two new gene regions that are connected with the prevalent condition. The team of international researchers revealed a total of five risk regions on the DNA, which are associated with bipolar disorder, but only two are newly discovered, which may finally help them receive some answers regarding the origin of the illness. Experts have emphasized the fact that looking for genes that could be related to the condition is like “looking for a needle in a haystack,” but an unprecedented study might solve this problem.
Ambitious Global Study
Professor Doctor Markus Nothen, Director of the Institute of Human Genetics of the University Bonn Hospital stated that “there is no one gene that has a significant effect on the development of bipolar disorder.” However, he also added that the genes that are related to the condition “work together with the environmental factors in a complex way” and result in the manic-depressive disorder.
The study, carried out by Professor Doctor Marcella Rietschel from the Central Institute of Mental Health of Mannheim. Professor Doctor Sven Cichon from the University of Basel Hospital and Professor Doctor Markus M. Nothen from the University of Bonn Hospital gathered genetic data from 2,266 patients with bipolar disorder, 5,028 healthy people and analyzed the information from a total of 9,747 ill people and 14,278 healthy persons.
The logic used by the research team aimed at comparing the genetic material from a large number of people with this particular condition with healthy persons in order to confirm the differences from a statistical point of view.
The research recorded approximately 2.3 million distinct regions in patients’ genetic material and proved that bipolar disorder may finally receive some answers regarding the cause of this illness and how it appears. Out of the five risk regions on the DNA which are associated with the condition, “ADCY2” and “MIR2113-POU3F2” are newly discovered and “ANK3,” “TRANK1” and “ODZ4” have already been analyzed in anterior studies.
Although all five risk regions were confirmed by the unique study and Professor Nothen stated that “the connection with the bipolar disorder has now become even clearer,” gene region “ADCY2” seems to code an enzyme which is included in the control of signals into nerve cells. This gene region emphasizes the prior studies which show that patients with manic-depressive disorder have unpaired signal transfer in specific regions of the brain.
Bipolar disorder, the illness characterized by intense mood swings may finally receive some answers after a team of researchers conducted a study with an impressive number of people in order to find out the risk regions on the DNA which are associated with this condition.
By Gabriela Motroc