Bipolar disorder (BD) is a highly heritable psychiatric disease characterized by recurrent episodes of mania and depression. To identify new BD genes and pathways, the present study employed a three-step approach. First, gene-expression profiles of BD patients were assessed during both a manic and an euthymic phase. These profiles were compared intra-individually and with the gene-expression profiles of controls. Second, those differentially expressed genes that were considered potential trait markers of BD were validated using data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortiums' genome-wide association study (GWAS) of BD. Third, the implicated molecular mechanisms were investigated using pathway analytical methods. In the present patients, this novel approach identified: (i) sets of differentially expressed genes specific to mania and euthymia; and (ii) a set of differentially expressed genes that were common to both mood states. In the GWAS data integration analysis, one gene (STAB1) remained significant (P = 1.9×10-4) after adjustment for multiple testing. STAB1 is located in close proximity to PBMR1 and the NEK4-ITIH1-ITIH3-ITIH4 region, which are the top findings from GWAS meta-analyses of mood disorder, and a combined BD and schizophrenia data set. Pathway analyses in the mania versus control comparison revealed three distinct clusters of pathways tagging molecular mechanisms implicated in BD, for example, energy metabolism, inflammation and the ubiquitin proteasome system. The present findings suggest that STAB1 is a new and highly promising candidate gene in this region. The combining of gene expression and GWAS data may provide valuable insights into the biological mechanisms of BD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience