Genomics of bipolar affective disorder

Coordinator:    PD Dr. Sven Cichon
Institution: Department of Genomics, Life & Brain Center, University of Bonn
Bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) is a common psychiatric disorder with severe burden to the individual and the society. Identification of susceptibility genes will be the first step on a path toward improved understanding of pathogenesis of mood disorders that has much to offer including more effective, better targeted treatments, earlier recognition of individuals at risk, and improved understanding of environmental factors. Building on the long-standing expertise of the MooDS consortium in the analysis of complex diseases and recent methodological advances in the field of genetically complex phenotypes, our project aims to systematically identify susceptibility genes for BPAD and characterize them.
The project’s basis will be a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to systematically screen the complete genome for disease-associated genetic variants. This is achieved by genotyping more than 600,000 genetic polymorphisms in more than 1500 patients with BPAD and 2400 control individuals using chip-based high-throughput laboratory techniques. Those polymorphisms that are significantly more frequent in patients than controls may be involved in disease development and will be followed-up. In a number of subsequent steps, these variants will first be verified in independent cohorts of patients and controls and will then be functionally characterized. In particular, we will use gene expression analyses, protein-protein interaction, mouse models, systems biology, and brain imaging approaches to better understand the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of this common mood disorder. 
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