Understanding Bipolar Disorder: The Epigenetic Perspective

  • Tarang Khare
  • Mrinal Pal
  • Arturas PetronisEmail author
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 5)


Bipolar disease (BPD) is a complex major psychiatric disorder that affects between 1% and 2% of the population and exhibits ?85% heritability. This has made BPD an appealing target for genetic studies yet, despite numerous attempts, the genetic basis of this disease remains elusive. Recently, it has come to light that epigenetic factors may also influence the development of BPD. These factors act via stable but reversible modifications of DNA and chromatin structure. In this chapter, we revisit the epidemiological, clinical, and molecular findings in BPD and reanalyze them from the perspective of inherited and acquired epigenetic misregulation. Epigenetic research has great potential to enhance our understanding of the molecular basis of BPD.


Epigentics Complex diseases Methylation Histone modification Epigenetic model Epigenotype Methylome study Twin discordance Gender differences Imprinting Microarray 



We thank Carolyn Ptak and Gabriel Oh for their constructive suggestions and editorial help. This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH074127 and 1R01 MH088413), and the Canadian Institutes for Health and Research (CIHR). AP is a Senior Fellow of the Ontario Mental Health Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Krembil Family Epigenetics LaboratoryCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.The Krembil Family Epigentics LaboratoryCenter for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Department of Pharmacology and ToxicologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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