Individual differences |
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The disorder runs in families. More than two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder have at least one close relative with the disorder or with unipolar major depression, indicating that the disease has a genetic component.
Studies seeking to identify the genetic basis of bipolar disorder indicate that susceptibility stems from multiple genes. Scientists are continuing their search for these genes, using advanced genetic analytic methods and large samples of families affected by the illness. The researchers are hopeful that identification of susceptibility genes for bipolar disorder, and the brain proteins they code for, will make it possible to develop better treatments and preventive interventions targeted at the underlying illness process.
The monozygotic concordance rate for the disorder is 70%. This means that if a person has the disorder, an identical twin has a 70% likelihood of having the disorder as well. Dizygotic twins have a 23% concordance rate. These concordance rates are not universally replicated in the literature; recent studies have shown rates of around 40% for monozygotic and <10% for dizygotic twins (see Kieseppa, 2004 and Cardno, 1999).
In 2003, a group of American and Canadian researchers published a paper that used gene linkage techniques to identify a mutation in the GRK3 gene as a possible cause of up to 10% of cases of bipolar disorder. This gene is associated with a kinase enzyme called G protein receptor kinase 3, which appears to be involved in dopamine metabolism, and may provide a possible target for new drugs for bipolar disorder.
The role of genetic factors in bipolar disorder is indicated by concordance in monozygotic and dizygotic twins, respectively, of 57% and 14%, and the correlation between adopted people and their biological relatives (Cadoret, 1978).
Studies have explored the relationship between bipolar disorder and a large number of human chromosomes:
- Bipolar disorder - Genetic linkage to chromosome 2
- Bipolar disorder - Genetic linkage to chromosome 3p
- Bipolar disorder - Genetic linkage to chromosome 4
- Bipolar disorder - Genetic linkage to chromosome 5
- Bipolar disorder - Genetic linkage to chromosome 6
- Bipolar disorder - Genetic linkage to chromosome 8
- Bipolar disorder - Genetic linkage to chromosome 9
- Bipolar disorder - Genetic linkage to chromosome 11
- Bipolar disorder - Genetic linkage to chromosome 12q
- Bipolar disorder - Genetic linkage to chromosome 17
- Bipolar disorder - Genetic linkage to chromosome 18
- Bipolar disorder - Genetic linkage to chromosome 20
- Bipolar disorder - Genetic linkage to chromosome 21
- Bipolar disorder - Genetic linkage to chromosome 22
The following studies are ongoing, and are recruiting volunteers:
The Maudsley Bipolar Twin Study, based at the Institute of Psychiatry in London is conducting research about the genetic basis of bipolar disorder using twin methodology. Currently recruiting volunteers: identical and non-identical twins pairs, where either one or both twins has a diagnosis of bipolar I or II.
References & BibliographyEdit
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