What is the role of biomarkers in the diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder (manic-depressive illness)?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Researchers and clinicians have long sought biological indicators for mental disorders, particularly for affective disorders. Frye and colleagues took an important first step in this process by analyzing 7.5 ml blood samples from patients diagnosed with unipolar depression (n=52), bipolar II disorder (n=49), and bipolar I disorder (n=46) as well as 141 control subjects. They found six proteins significantly associated with mood disorders including unipolar and bipolar depression. Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15), hemopexin (HPX), hepsin (HPN), matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7), retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP-4) and transthyretin (TTR) all showed statistically significant differences among groups. MMP-7 was significantly different in mood disorder (BP-I+BP-II+UP) vs controls; MMP-7, GDF-15, HPN were significantly different in bipolar cases (BP-I+BP-II) vs controls; and GDF-15, HPX, HPN, RBP-4 and TTR proteins were all significantly different in BP-I vs controls. These findings suggest that proteomic panels may be helpful in identifying and distinguishing mood disorders. [72]

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