Nav: Home

Mutation links bipolar disorder to mitochondrial disease

June 11, 2018

Mutations in the gene ANT1 may confer a risk for bipolar disorder through a complex interplay between serotonin and mitochondrial signaling in the brain. These two pathways have been separately implicated in bipolar disorder, but the link between levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin and mitochondrial dysfunction had not been established. Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Brain Science (CBS) in Japan now report that mitochondrial dysfunction affects the activity of serotonergic neurons in mice with mutations of ANT1.

Mitochondria are the vital organelles that deliver energy to all cells and mitochondrial damage has been found, for example, in brain imaging of bipolar patients and in post-mortem brains. Roughly 20% of patients with mitochondrial disease also have bipolar disorder, a major psychiatric disease characterized by manic and depressive episodes. Altered serotonin functioning, on the other hand, seems to be involved in bipolar disorder because drugs that target serotonin levels can effectively treat the condition. "Our study suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction can alter activity of serotonergic neurons in bipolar disorder, and this is the first time these two lines of evidence have been linked," says Tadafumi Kato, research group leader at CBS. The research was published on June 8 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

The study started by identifying ANT1 mutations in patients with bipolar disorder. Kato and colleagues then looked at mice lacking the ANT1 gene in the brain only. Compared with non-mutant mice, the mitochondria in these knockout mice could not retain calcium and had leakier pores. The ANT1-mutant mice also showed lower impulsivity in behavior tests, and consistent with this, their brains showed elevated serotonin turnover. This hyper-serotonergic state is likely a result of a cascade of changes that starts with the loss of the ANT1 gene and the resulting dysfunctional mitochondria. Enhanced serotonergic activity may then further impair mitochondria in a vicious cycle.

Serotonergic neurons were found to deteriorate in a brain area called the dorsal raphe, which is a region also affected in Parkinson's disease--another condition that may have its roots in mitochondrial dysfunction. The ANT1 mutation does not cause bipolar disorder, says Kato, but is associated with elevated risk. The implication of this research is that emerging therapies for the underlying mitochondrial dysfunction could one day treat bipolar disorder more successfully than today's variable serotonin-targeting drugs.
-end-
Reference:

Kato TM, et al. (2018) Mitochondrial dysfunction causes hyperexcitability of serotonergic neurons. Molecular Psychiatry. doi: 10.1038/s41380-018-0074-9.

RIKEN

Related Bipolar Disorder Articles:

Is bipolar disorder associated with increased risk of Parkinson's disease?
This study, called a systematic review and meta-analysis, combined the results of seven studies with 4.3 million participants to examine a potential association between bipolar disorder with a later diagnosis of Parkinson's disease of unknown cause.
Bipolar disorder may be linked to Parkinson's disease
People who have bipolar disorder may be more likely to later develop Parkinson's disease than people who do not have bipolar disorder, according at a study published in the May 22, 2019, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Probiotics could help millions of patients suffering from bipolar disorder
About 3 million people in the US are diagnosed every year with bipolar disorder, a psychiatric condition characterized by dramatic shifts in mood from depression to mania.
Novel intervention for anxiety symptoms among people with Bipolar Disorder
Psychologists at Lancaster University have devised a novel psychological intervention to address Anxiety in Bipolar Disorder (AIBD).
Mutation links bipolar disorder to mitochondrial disease
Mutations in the gene ANT1 may confer a risk for bipolar disorder through a complex interplay between serotonin and mitochondrial signaling in the brain.
More Bipolar Disorder News and Bipolar Disorder Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...