Genes Examined in Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can be a debilitating condition for those who suffer from its effects. As a result, scientists continue to examine this condition, its origin, treatment and even potential prevention. According to a release out of Science Daily, the malfunctioning circadian clock genes could be responsible for bipolar disorder in children. According to researchers in BMC Psychiatry, four versions of the regulatory gene RORB were associated with pediatric bipolar disorder. A team of researchers led by Alexander Niculescu from the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, studied the RORA and RORB genes of 152 children with the condition, while also observing 140 control children. These researchers found four alterations to the RORB gene that were positively associated with being bipolar. Niculescu said in Science Daily, “Our findings suggest that clock genes in general and RORB in particular may be important candidates for further investigation in the search for the molecular basis of bipolar disorder.” RORB is mainly found in the functions of the eye, pineal gland and brain. These functions may change in some tissues and mice without the gene tend to exhibit circadian rhythm abnormalities. According to Niculescu, “Bipolar disorder is often characterized by circadian rhythm abnormalities, and this is particularly true among pediatric bipolar patients. Decreased sleep has even been noted as one of the earliest symptoms discriminating children with bipolar disorder from those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).” Bipolar disorder in children continues to be a controversial issue as it is characterized by alternating bouts of depression and mania in children. What is interesting is that it does not affect all young people in the same way or the same duration and severity can vary considerably.

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