World Bipolar Day
World Bipolar Day is observed on March 30th every year. This day is dedicated to raising awareness about bipolar disorder, a mental illness that affects approximately 46 million people worldwide.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition characterized by severe mood swings. Individuals with bipolar disorder experience episodes of mania or hypomania and depression. However, something peculiar about bipolar disorder is that some people with the condition experience periods of stability where they have a "normal" mood, neither manic nor depressed. This is often referred to as "euthymia," a term used to describe a stable and balanced emotional state. Euthymia is important as it allows individuals with bipolar disorder to function well in their daily lives. During these periods, they are not experiencing the extreme mood swings that can be so disruptive and impair their ability to work or socialize. The length of these periods of euthymia varies from person to person. Some people with bipolar disorder experience only a few days of stability between episodes, while others may experience months or even years. However, it is important to note that even during these periods of stability, the individual is still at risk for another episode of mania or depression.
The reason why some people with bipolar disorder experience periods of euthymia is not entirely clear. It could be due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Treatment is also important for managing bipolar disorder and maintaining stability. Medications, such as mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants, along with therapy, can help people with bipolar disorder manage their symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse.
In recent years, single cell sequencing and analysis have emerged as a powerful tool for understanding the complex cellular processes that underlie various diseases, including bipolar disorder. This technology allows researchers to examine the genetic and epigenetic changes that occur in individual cells, providing a more detailed and nuanced understanding of the disease. Analysis of gene expression in individual cells enables researchers to study the molecular mechanisms underlying bipolar disorder at a deeper level. Lobentanzer et al. Cell Rep. 2019, combined large-scale transcriptomic meta-analysis of patient brain tissues with single cell sequencing data of CNS neurons to analyze cortical transcripts of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder patients. This study revealed the differences between afflicted men and women and identifies disease-affected pathways of cholinergic transmission and gp130-family neurokine controllers of immune function interlinked by microRNAs. This has opened additional perspectives for seeking biomarkers and therapeutic targets in other transmitter systems and diseases. Nishioka et. al. Nat. Commun. 2021, presents a systematic analysis of exonic germline and postzygotic de novo mutations in bipolar disorder (BD). The researchers analyzed the exomes of 257 BD patients and 1,640 controls to identify rare exonic variants. They also analyzed the exomes of postmortem brain tissues from BD patients to identify postzygotic de novo mutations. The study found that rare exonic variants in genes involved in synaptic function and calcium signaling were more common in BD patients than in controls. Additionally, postzygotic de novo mutations were identified in the brain tissues of BD patients, suggesting a potential role for somatic mutations in BD pathogenesis. This study sheds light on the genetic underpinnings of bipolar disorder (BD) and provides evidence that rare exonic variants in genes involved in synaptic function and calcium signaling are more common in BD patients than in healthy controls. This suggests that disruptions in these biological pathways may play a role in the pathogenesis of BD. These findings have important implications for understanding the biological mechanisms underlying BD and may lead to the development of more targeted and effective treatments.
Overall, these studies highlight the potential of single cell sequencing and gene analysis for advancing our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of bipolar disorder. By identifying specific cell types and genetic pathways that are associated with the disorder, researchers may be able to develop new diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies that target these specific cells and pathways.
On this World Bipolar Day, we should continue to support and encourage those living with bipolar disorder, and work towards greater awareness, understanding, and compassion for those living with this challenging condition.
Lobentanzer S, Hanin G, Klein J, Soreq H. Integrative Transcriptomics Reveals Sexually Dimorphic Control of the Cholinergic/Neurokine Interface in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. Cell Rep. 2019 Oct 15;29(3):764-777.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.09.017.
Nishioka M, Kazuno AA, Nakamura T, Sakai N, Hayama T, Fujii K, Matsuo K, Komori A, Ishiwata M, Watanabe Y, Oka T, Matoba N, Kataoka M, Alkanaq AN, Hamanaka K, Tsuboi T, Sengoku T, Ogata K, Iwata N, Ikeda M, Matsumoto N, Kato T, Takata A. Systematic analysis of exonic germline and postzygotic de novo mutations in bipolar disorder. Nat Commun. 2021 Jun 18;12(1):3750. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-23453-w.
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