Bipolar Disorder: New Study Finds Biological Mechanism Behind Mental Illness
등록일 2019년 01월 07일 목요일
수정일 2017년 11월 09일 목요일

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A previous research published in Nature was focused on the genetic background of the bipolar disorder.The findings revealed that the gene which encoded the cellular protein phospholipase Cγ1 enzyme has been linked to BD.Unfortunately, the researchers cannot determine the exact mechanism behind it that leads to its development.

But the researchers from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology may have found the answer, the biological mechanism of Cγ1 and bipolar disorder.The study involved the testing of phospholipase Cγ1 in mice models.The researchers engineered the mice to have PLCγ1 deficiency in the anterior part of their bran.They studied and analyzed the reaction and performance of the mice's synapses, the end part of neurons that handle electric signaling between two brain cells.

They noticed that mice with PLCγ1 deficiency have deterioration in the inhibitory transmission and synaptic plasticity, natural ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time.They also noticed that the mice with PLCγ1 deficiency have brain-derived neurotrophic factor deficiency.BDNF is a protein that controls many functions of synapses including the activity of PLCγ1 and its formation.

Photo By Mark Harkin via Wikimedia Commons

The result is that both the deficiency in PLCγ1 enzyme and BDNF protein in mice showed symptoms similar to bipolar disorder.These symptoms include abnormally high feelings of pleasure or hyperhedonia, hyperactivity, reduced anxiety-like behavior, excessive hunger, and impaired learning and memory.

It seems that a neurochemical reaction occurs in the brain that leads to the development of BD.Synapses that do not have enough PLCγ1 cannot perform their inhibitory function properly in excitatory neurons because of the malfunction in BDNF.It causes unstable control over excitatory and inhibitory synapses that lead to bipolar disorder.

"In the brain, excitatory synapses and inhibitory synapses work together to remain balanced for proper neurotransmission.Our study demonstrated that the imbalance between these two is a major cause of various neuropsychiatric disorders and the dysfunction observed in the hippocampi of bipolar disorder patients," said Pann-Ghill Suh, a professor of life sciences at UNIST.

The researchers were unable to figure out how PLCγ1 affected interneuronal signaling and how it can cause the illness.But their findings of the major role of PLCγ1 in onset bipolar disorder may likely be used in developing new treatments for the mental illness and its symptoms.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes the sudden shift in the person's energy, mood, and ability to think clearly, People with BD experience high and low moods or mania and depression shifts that are intense than the usual ups and downs of normal people.The main symptoms of BD are mania and depression from extreme mood swings.A person with BD may experience both mania and depression at the same time, either simultaneously or in rapid sequence.Severe episodes of mania and depression may include psychotic symptoms, such as delusions or hallucinations.

1.Mania: A person with bipolar disorder must have experienced at least one episode of mania or hypomania once in their life.Hypomania is a lighter version of mania that does not cause any psychotic symptoms.When they have an episode of mania, they often behave aggressively, behave impulsively, decide recklessly, and dare to do risky actions.People with BD can also commit suicide actions under an episode of mania.

2.Depression: In a depressive state, a person with bipolar disorder may find falling or staying asleep very difficult.Some people with BP sleep much more than others.When depressed, they feel severely challenged by life's most simple actions, such as eating dinner which, for them, can be an overwhelming thing to do.Their minds are obsessed with the feeling of loss, guilt, helplessness, and personal failure.This kind of thinking can lead them to suicidal thoughts and actions.

Bipolar disorder has four types - bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymia, and unspecified.People diagnosed with bipolar I have more manic episodes than other bipolar people.People diagnosed with bipolar II have more depressive episodes than other bipolar people.People with cyclothymia BP have a chronically unstable mood state and experience hypomania and mild depression for at least two years.People diagnosed as unspecified means that the person does not meet the criteria for the other three bipolar disorders, but experience abnormal mood changes.

Treatment for the bipolar disorder includes psychotherapy or talk therapy with the patient, prescription of medications like mood stabilizers and antipsychotic drugs, complementary health methods like exercise and meditation, and self-help by learning and recognizing.the early symptoms.

Additional Information

- Bipolar disorder and bipolar personality disorder are two different mental health conditions that overlap each other.

- BD and BPD have common symptoms, such as extreme mood swings and impulsive behavior.

- People with undiagnosed BD but who manifest psychotic symptoms may be diagnosed with schizophrenia instead.

- Almost 800,000 suicide deaths occurred worldwide in 2015.

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