Promising Stem Cell Research on Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder-Derived Neurons Have Distinct Transcripts
Bipolar Disorder-Derived Neurons Have Distinct Transcripts

(HealthDay News) — Neurons differentiated from bipolar disorder patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have a significantly different transcription profile than those from controls, according to a study published online March 25 in Translational Psychology.

Haiming M. Chen, MD, from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues investigated the changes in gene expression as iPSCs derived from well-characterized patients differentiate into neurons.

The researchers observed little difference in the transcriptome of iPSCs from bipolar disorder patients, but neurons from patients had significantly different transcription profiles than those from controls. In bipolar disorder-derived neurons, expression of transcripts for membrane bound receptors and ion channels was significantly increased compared with controls. The calcium transient and wave amplitude was altered significantly with lithium pretreatment of bipolar disorder neurons. Alterations were also observed in expression of transcription factors involved in the specification of telencephalic neuronal identify. Transcripts that conferred dorsal telencephalic fate were expressed in control neurons, while neurons from bipolar disorder patients expressed genes involved in differentiation of ventral regions. In both groups, cells were responsive to dorsal/ventral patterning cues.

"Cell-based models should have a significant impact on our understanding of the genesis and therefore treatment of bipolar disorder; the iPSC cell lines themselves provide an important resource for comparison with other neurodevelopmental disorders," the authors write.

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