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Biomarkers for Bipolar Disorder

Elevated serum measures of lipid peroxidation and abnormal prefrontal white matter in euthymic bipolar adults: toward peripheral biomarkers of bipolar disorder.
Versace A, Andreazza AC, Trevor Young L, Fournier JC, Almeida JRC, Stiffler RS, Lockovich JC, Aslam HA, Pollock MH, Park H, Nimgaonkar VL, Kupfer DJ, Phillips ML.

It is estimated that bipolar disorder (BD), affects 2.6% of the US adult population. Studies that seek to identify the disorder’s underlying pathophysiologic processes have included diffusion imaging (a type of MRI) studies. These investigations have consistently reported abnormal white matter connectivity and integrity in those with bipolar disorder, indicated by atypical fractional anisotrophy (FA) values.

In a recent collaborative study between the University of Pittsburgh (Drs. Versace and Phillips) and the University of Toronto (Drs. Andreazza and Young), Dr. Versace and colleagues used global probabilistic tractography (a method used to obtain a connectivity index along a white matter pathway that reflects fiber organization) to compare FA in eight white matter tracts in 24 adults with BD. In addition, early-stage and late-stage measures of lipid oxidative stress were examined in the serum of these subjects. Compared to the healthy adults, adults with BD showed lower levels of FA in the a priori white matter tracts, and higher serum levels of early - but not late - stage measures of lipid peroxidation.

This is the first study to examine relationships between measures of white matter integrity and peripheral measures of lipid peroxidation. Taken together, the findings suggest that early-stage measures of lipid peroxidation may be useful in the development of clinically-relevant, yet easily obtainable and inexpensive, peripheral biomarkers of BD.

Amelia Versace, MD; Jay Fournier, Ph.D.; Jorge Almeida, MD; Richelle Stiffler, MS; Jeanette Lockovich; Haris Aslam, MS; Myrna Pollock, MS; Vishwajit Nimgaonkar, MD; David Kupfer, MD; Mary Phillips, MD (Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh)
Ana Andreazza, PhD; Hannah Park, MS; Trevor Young, MD, PhD (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto)

The results of this investigation were published online in Molecular Psychiatry. Click here for a link to the abstract.