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Calcium-dependent intracellular signal pathways in primary cultured adipocytes and ANK3 gene variation in patients with bipolar disorder and healthy controls.

Journal article
Authors Amiko Hayashi
Kristell Le Gal
Kristoffer Södersten
Dzeneta Vizlin-Hodzic
Hans Ågren
Keiko Funa
Published in Molecular Psychiatry
Volume 20
Pages 931-40
ISSN 1359-4184
Publication year 2015
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Sahlgrenska Cancer Center
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 931-40
Language en
Keywords Calcium, ANK3, Bipolar disorder, signal pathway
Subject categories Basic Medicine


Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic psychiatric disorder of public health importance affecting >1% of the Swedish population. Despite progress, patients still suffer from chronic mood switches with potential severe consequences. Thus, early detection, diagnosis and initiation of correct treatment are critical. Cultured adipocytes from 35 patients with BD and 38 healthy controls were analysed using signal pathway reporter assays, that is, protein kinase C (PKC), protein kinase A (PKA), mitogen-activated protein kinases (extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)), Myc, Wnt and p53. The levels of activated target transcriptional factors were measured in adipocytes before and after stimulation with lithium and escitalopram. Variations were analysed in the loci of 25 different single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Activation of intracellular signals in several pathways analysed were significantly higher in patients than in healthy controls upon drug stimulation, especially with escitalopram stimulation of PKC, JNK and Myc, as well as lithium-stimulated PKC, whereas no meaningful difference was observed before stimulation. Univariate analyses of contingency tables for 80 categorical SNP results versus diagnoses showed a significant link with the ANK3 gene (rs10761482; likelihood ratio χ2=4.63; P=0.031). In a multivariate ordinal logistic fit for diagnosis, a backward stepwise procedure selected ANK3 as the remaining significant predictor. Comparison of the escitalopram-stimulated PKC activity and the ANK3 genotype showed them to add their share of the diagnostic variance, with no interaction (15% of variance explained, P<0.002). The study is cross-sectional with no longitudinal follow-up. Cohorts are relatively small with no medication-free patients, and there are no 'ill patient' controls. It takes 3 to 4 weeks of culture to expand adipocytes that may change epigenetic profiles but remove the possibility of medication effects. Abnormalities in the reactivity of intracellular signal pathways to stimulation and the ANK3 genotype may be associated with pathogenesis of BD. Algorithms using biological patterns such as pathway reactivity together with structural genetic SNP data may provide opportunities for earlier detection and effective treatment of BD.

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