Association studies with candidate genes may contribute towards the understanding of the etiopathogenesis of bipolar disorder. Candidate genes in bipolar disorders are those related to aminergic neurotransmission, which is the target of the effects of antipsychotics and antidepressants, as well as genes related to signal transduction pathways, reporting the target for the mood-stabilizing effects of lithium. Association with such candidate genes may provide clues towards the understanding of the biological components of bipolar disorder. An association study was performed between the 5' regulatory region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR), the inositol polyphosphate 1-phosphatase gene (INPP1) and bipolar disorder using our sample of proband/parent trios. A total of 101 bipolar probands were considered eligible for the study. Since both parents had to be available, mean age at onset of bipolar disorder in probands was relatively young. However, the mean duration of illness and the number of episodes were consistent with a stable diagnosis. In our trios sample, the transmission disequilibrium test revealed no preferential transmission of alleles of the 5-HTTLPR and INPP1 from heterozygous parents to probands. Therefore, additional family-based data are warranted, possibly with a more complete subdivision of 5-HTTLPR alleles, since short and long alleles have recently been divided into four and six kinds of allelic variant, respectively, with significant ethnic differences in allele and genotype distributions.