n African Journal of Psychiatry - Psychosis and relapse in bipolar disorder are related to GRM3, DAOA, and GRIN2B genotype : original article




Dysfunction in glutamate signalling is thought to play a role in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder (BD). There is evidence of associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in GRM3, GRIN2B, and DAOA genes and the diagnosis of BD. In this pilot study, we investigated the frequency of SNP variants in these 3 genes within South African population groups, and assessed interactions between genes and phenotypes of BD disease severity. Multiplex SNaPshotTM PCR was used to genotype 191 case and 188 control samples. Cases comprised of 191 individuals in a South African cohort of mixed ancestry and Caucasians, with BD Type 1. Phenotypes of BD disease severity were : age of onset, number of illness episodes, number of hospitalisations for depression or mania and history of psychotic symptoms. There were no significant difference in SNP allele frequencies between cases and controls. In the case-only analysis, the GRM3 rs6465084 heterozygote was associated with a 4-fold increased risk of lifetime history of psychotic symptoms, and the specific variants within the gene pair, DAOA and GRIN2B, had a significant interaction with the number of hospitalisations for mania, with lowest admission rates associated with both pairs of ancestral alleles. In BD, variations in glutamatergic genes may influence phenotypes related to the severity of illness. Speculatively, newly derived genes associated with various evolutionary advantages, may also increase the risk for more severe BD. These preliminary findings deserve validation in a larger cohort.


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