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Biomarkers for bipolar disorder: current insights

Authors Duong A, Syed B, Scola G

Received 16 June 2015

Accepted for publication 19 September 2015

Published 3 November 2015 Volume 2015:5 Pages 79—92

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CBF.S79138

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Sanja Štifter

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Hung Khong


Angela Duong,1 Bushra Syed,1 Gustavo Scola2,3

1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 2Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, 3Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, ON, Canada

Abstract: Currently, there exists a lack of definitive diagnostic tools for neuropsychiatric disorders, particularly molecular markers that could help assess the illness and develop more personalized treatments for different disorders. Understanding of the neurobiology and potential novel treatments for bipolar disorder (BD), one of the most complex psychiatric illnesses, remains poor. This review aims to compile the most reproducible findings regarding the molecular, genetic, and structural changes that occur in BD. Neuroimaging studies have indicated alterations in neural circuits, disrupted white matter integrity, alterations in reward activation, and decreased gray matter (GM) volume. Genetic studies have identified variations in a number of genes that confer risk for BD development. Studies involving peripheral biomarkers include alterations in the levels of oxidative stress, inflammation, and neurotrophins. These potential molecular markers could be used as tools for diagnosis, to assess illness progression, and to help with the improvement of more specific and personalized treatments for patients with BD. Identification of biologically relevant markers could improve the quality of life of patients with BD and revolutionize public health.

Keywords: biomarkers, neuroimaging, neural activation, gene regulation, microRNAs, oxidative stress, inflammation

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