Proteins Could be Potential Bipolar Disorder Biomarkers

Diagnosing bipolar disorder may become easier now that researchers have discovered a group of proteins that could be used as biomarker to identify the mood disorder.

Mark Frye, MD, head of psychiatry and psychology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and colleagues examined 272 protein from 288 patient blood samples. Of the study participants, 46 were diagnosed with bipolar I depression, 49 with bipolar II depression and 52 with unipolar depression. They were compared against a control group of 141 subjects without any mood disorders.

A total of 73 proteins were found to differ among the four groups studied. However, there was a significant difference in six proteins in those with bipolar I depression compared to the control group, the researchers reported in the journal Translational Psychiatry, an indication they could be used as biomarkers.

“The potential of having a biological test to help accurately diagnose bipolar disorder would make a huge difference to medical practice,”  Frye said in a statement. “It would then help clinicians to choose the most appropriate treatment for hard-to-diagnose individuals.”

The researchers noted their work is “one of the first studies to assess the feasibility of high throughput multiplexed immunoassay technology (272 proteins) trying to distinguish different types of mood disorders,” thought they added the results need to be replicated in a larger study.