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Mitochondrial Genetics and Bipolar Disorder 

Mitochondrial Genetics and Bipolar Disorder
Mitochondrial Genetics and Bipolar Disorder

Hayley B. Clay

, Satoshi Fuke

, Tadafumi Kato

, and Christine Konradi

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date: 23 June 2021

Evidence for mitochondrial pathology in bipolar disorder (BPD) comes from a variety of sources. An array of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the mitochondrial genome, as well as in nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes has been implicated in BPD. In addition, changes in mitochondria-relevant gene levels, mitochondrial function, Ca2+ dynamics, and cellular resilience have been observed. Psychiatric symptoms in inherited mitochondrial disorders overlap with symptoms in BPD, and some cases of BPD might have a maternal inheritance pattern, typical for mitochondrial disorders. Of further evidence, mood stabilizers used to treat BPD increase mitochondrial gene expression and viability.

This chapter will examine the physiology and genetics of mitochondria, and how our current knowledge of mitochondrial function and genetics can explain some of the pathophysiology of BPD. While BPD might not be a mitochondrial disorder in the traditional sense, recent improvement of our understanding of somatic mutation rates and heteroplasmy of mitochondria could shed new light on how slightly aberrant bioenergetic mechanisms could lead to BPD and possibly other psychiatric disorders.

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