Alteration of monoaminergic neurotransmission is implicated in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness). Candidate genes participating in monoaminergic neurotransmission, especially serotonin transporter and monoamine oxidase A, may be associated with bipolar disorder. And the regulating regions of these genes and the molecules participating in intracellular signal transduction are now under investigation. To date, 13 whole genome positional cloning studies have been performed and many candidate loci identified. Using patients from a pedigree in which schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder have been linked with a balanced translocation at 1 and 11, candidate pathogenetic genes were cloned as DISC1 (disrupted in schizophrenia-1) and DISC2. Recently, pathogenetic mutations have been identified in two genetic diseases frequently co-morbid with mood disorder; WFS1 for Wolfram syndrome and ATP2A2 (SERCA2) for Darier's disease. Transmission of bipolar disorder may be characterized by anticipation and parent-of-origin effect, and extended CTG repeat at SEF2-1B gene was identified from a bipolar patient. However, its pathogenetic role was not supported by subsequent studies. Association of bipolar disorder with mitochondrial DNA has also been suggested. The role of genomic imprinting is also possible because linkage to 18p11 is limited to paternally transmitted pedigrees. These results warrant further study of molecular genetics of bipolar disorder.
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