Two new genetic variants that may increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder are revealed in a genome-wide association study in over 24,000 individuals. The study, reported in Nature Communications, provides further insights into the genetic basis of the disease.
Bipolar disorder is a complex disease characterised by recurrent periods of mania and depression. Although bipolar disorder is common, affecting about 1% of the population, the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the disease have not been fully characterised. In the largest study of bipolar disorder to date, Sven Cichon and colleagues identify two new genetic risk variants for bipolar disorder and also confirm three previously reported genetic associations.
Of the two newly identified risk variants, one has previously been reported to influence information processing speed and the other is predicted to have a damaging effect on the ADCY2 protein, which is involved in neurotransmission. Taken together, these findings may increase our understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying the development of bipolar disorder.