Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) belongs to a family of neurotrophic factors and has been demonstrated to promote the survival, differentiation, and maintenance of a broad variety of central nervous system neurons. Several reports have suggested that the BDNF gene is a plausible functional candidate gene underlying the predisposition for developing bipolar disorder (BPD). In the present study, we investigated the possible role of the BDNF gene in the etiology of BPD using a matched case-control association design in a Japanese population. There was no evidence for an allelic or genotypic association of two polymorphisms (-1360C>T and 196G>A) of the BDNF gene with BPD. Furthermore, no significant association was observed between these polymorphisms and either of two diagnostic subtypes (bipolars I and II disorder). The results suggest that the BDNF gene is unlikely to confer susceptibility to BPD.