Mysterious Bipolar Disorder Gene

Newly discovered genetic variation found

(RxWiki News) Researchers now have found a genetic variation in the gene neurocan (NCAN)  which, when present, makes people susceptible to mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disease, a mood disorder characterized by highly charged episodes of mania and depression, has been more difficult to identify than schizophrenia.

"A new bipolar disorder gene has been identified."

Dr. Sven Cichon, from the University of Bonn in Germany, and his colleague led the Genome-wide association studies (GWAS ) which examined the DNA from thousands of bipolar disorder patients.

There they found a significant association with the patients and a genetic variation in the gene NCAN. This finding held up in the critical follow up study involving over 10,000 blood samples from bipolar disorder patients. NCAN is thought to be associated with cognition and regulation of emotions.

Difficulty in these two areas is a hallmark of bipolar disorder.

Review Date: 
April 6, 2011