Background: Bipolar disorder is a common psychiatric mood disorder that is defined by recurrent episodes of abnormally elevated mood and depression. Progressive structural brain changes in individuals with bipolar disorder have been suggested to be associated with defects in the secretion of neurotrophic factors. We sought to assess how the regulated secretory pathway in the brain is affected in patients with bipolar disorder by measuring chromogranin B and secretogranin II, which are 2 cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biological markers for this process.
Methods: We measured the concentrations of chromogranin B (peptide 439-451) and secretogranin II (peptide 154-165) in the CSF of patients with well-defined bipolar disorder and healthy controls. The lifetime severity of bipolar disorder was rated using the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scale.
Results: We included 126 patients with bipolar disorder and 71 healthy controls in our analysis. Concentrations of secretogranin II were significantly lower in patients with bipolar disorder type I than in healthy controls. The reduction was most pronounced in patients with high CGI scores (i.e., severe disease).
Limitations: The cross-sectional design of the current study limits the ability to pinpoint the causalities behind the observed associations.
Conclusion: This study shows that the CSF marker secretogranin II has the potential to act as a biological marker for severe forms of bipolar disorder. Our findings indicate that patients with bipolar disorder possess defects in the regulatory secretory pathway, which may be of relevance to the progressive structural brain changes seen in those with severe forms of the disease.