Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene controlling circadian rhythms may be involved in onset of bipolar disorder

20.03.2007
Disrupt the gene that regulates the biological clocks in mice and they become manic, exhibiting behaviors similar to humans with bipolar disorder, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

In a study available online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists from UT Southwestern show that the Clock gene, which controls the body’s circadian rhythms, may be integrally involved in the development of bipolar disorder. Circadian rhythms include the daily ups-and-downs of waking, eating and other processes such as body temperature, hormone levels, blood pressure and heart activity.

“There’s evidence suggesting that circadian genes may be involved in bipolar disorder,” said Dr. Colleen McClung, assistant professor of psychiatry and the study’s senior author. “What we’ve done is taken earlier findings a step further by engineering a mutant mouse model displaying an overall profile that is strikingly similar to human mania, which will give us the opportunity to study why people develop mania or bipolar disorder and how they can be treated.”

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes dramatic shifts in a person's mood, energy and ability to function — much more severe than the normal ups and downs that most people experience. About 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6 percent of the adult population, suffer from the psychiatric disorder.

The study included putting the mutant mice through a series of tests, during which they displayed hyperactivity, decreased sleep, decreased anxiety levels, a greater willingness to engage in “risky” activities, lower levels of depression-like behavior and increased sensitivity to the rewarding effects of substances such as cocaine and sugar.

“These behaviors correlate with the sense of euphoria and mania that bipolar patients experience,” said Dr. McClung. “In addition, there is a very high co-morbidity between drug usage and bipolar disorder, especially when patients are in the manic state.”

During the study, lithium was given to the mutant mice. Lithium, a mood-stabilizing medication, is most commonly used in humans to treat bipolar patients. Once treated with the drug on a regular basis, the majority of the study’s mice reverted back to normal behavioral patterns, as do humans.

The researchers also injected a functional Clock gene protein — basically giving the mice their Clock gene back – into a specific region of the brain that controls reward functions and where dopamine cells are located. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with the “pleasure system” of the brain and is released by naturally rewarding experiences such as food, sex and the use of certain drugs. This also resulted in the mice going back to normal behaviors.

“While the Clock gene is expressed throughout the brain, it’s really only been studied in one particular brain region, which is the one that’s involved in circadian rhythms,” said Dr. McClung. “This is one of the first studies to show that Clock has a major effect on behavior in a different brain region — specifically the one that controls reward responses and mood.”

Dr. Eric Nestler, chairman of UT Southwestern’s psychiatry department and also a study author, said the research is important because it establishes the first complete mouse model for studying bipolar disorder.

“The lack of an animal model for bipolar disorder has been a crucial limitation in our efforts to better understand the biological basis of the disorder,” said Dr. Nestler, who holds the Lou and Ellen McGinley Distinguished Chair in Psychiatric Research. “Dr. McClung’s findings are therefore very important for the field and provide fundamentally new directions for one day developing improved treatments.”

Other researchers from UT Southwestern’s psychiatry department contributing to the study were: Dr. Shari Birnbaum, assistant professor; Dr. Sumana Chakravarty, assistant instructor; Dr. Scott Russo, postdoctoral research fellow; research technicians Ami Graham, Joseph Peevey and Kole Roybal; and Vaishnav Krishnan, MSTP student. Researchers from Harvard University, the Veterans Affairs North Texas Health Care System, Northwestern University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute also contributed.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Donna Steph Hansard | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu

Further reports about: bipolar bipolar disorder circadian involved rhythms

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution
27.03.2017 | Lancaster University

nachricht Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>