Genetic associations with clinical characteristics in bipolar affective disorder and recurrent unipolar depressive disorder

Am J Med Genet. 2000 Feb 7;96(1):36-42.


Genetic factors may be associated with disease subtype as well as susceptibility. We have therefore typed polymorphisms at the serotonin transporter, dopamine receptor, tryptophan hydroxylase, tyrosine hydoxylase, and monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) loci in 139 unipolar and 131 bipolar patients and investigated associations with gender, number of episodes, age of onset, history of psychotic symptoms, history of suicidal behavior, and history of substance abuse. In bipolar subjects, the promoter variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) allele 132 of MAOA was associated with history of suicide attempts, P = 0.029, particularly in females, P = 0.006. The Fnu4HI allele 1 of MAOA was also associated with history of suicide attempts in females, P = 0.0162. The serotonin transporter promoter allele 2 was associated with increasing number of manic episodes, P = 0.02, and history of psychotic symptoms, P = 0.0243. One significant association was found in the unipolar group: dopamine D2 receptor promoter allele 2 with history of psychotic symptoms, P = 0. 0165. We have tested multiple loci for a variety of different clinical variables and performed 228 tests of significance in total. It is possible that these preliminary findings are type 1 errors, because one would expect 11 of the 228 tests to reach a nominal significance level of P < 0.05 by chance alone if all the tests were independent. The associations with the MAOA and serotonin transporter loci are consistent with previous data suggesting associations with susceptibility to bipolar affective disorder. Am. J. Med. Genet. (Neuropsychiatr. Genet.) 96:36-42, 2000

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Bipolar Disorder / enzymology
  • Bipolar Disorder / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • DNA Primers
  • Depressive Disorder / enzymology
  • Depressive Disorder / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Monoamine Oxidase / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / genetics
  • Recurrence
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase / genetics
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / genetics


  • Carrier Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • SLC6A4 protein, human
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase
  • Monoamine Oxidase