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Bipolar disorder genes, pathways identified by Indiana University neuroscientists
Date:11/21/2008

INDIANAPOLIS Neuroscientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine have created the first comprehensive map of genes likely to be involved in bipolar disorder, according to research published online Nov. 21 in the American Journal of Medical Genetics.

The researchers combined data from the latest large-scale international gene hunting studies for bipolar disorder with information from their own studies and have identified the best candidate genes for the illness.

The methodology developed at the IU Institute of Psychiatric Research enabled Alexander B. Niculescu III, M.D., Ph.D., and his team to mine the data from the genome-wide association studies and other study results on the levels of gene activity in human blood samples and in animal models. Genes with the highest levels of prominence were determined to be the most active in contributing to the disorder.

The researchers also were able to analyze how these genes work together and created a comprehensive biological model of bipolar disorder.

"Based on our work, we now project that there will be hundreds of genes possibly as much as 10 percent of the human genome involved in this illness," said Dr. Niculescu, who is an assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the laboratory of neurophenomics (http://www.neurophenomics.info/) at the IU School of Medicine. "Not all genetic mutations will occur in every individual with bipolar disorder. Different individuals will have different combinations of genetic mutations. This genetic complexity is most likely what made past attempts to identify genes for the disorder through genetic-only studies so difficult and inconsistent."

Dr. Niculescu compared the process to a Web search. "The process was similar to a Google approach, the more links there are to a page on the Internet, the more likely it is to come up at the top of your search list. The more exp
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Contact: Mary Hardin
mhardin@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert

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