Novel integrative genomic tool for interrogating lithium response in bipolar disorder

Transl Psychiatry. 2015 Feb 3;5(2):e504. doi: 10.1038/tp.2014.139.


We developed a novel integrative genomic tool called GRANITE (Genetic Regulatory Analysis of Networks Investigational Tool Environment) that can effectively analyze large complex data sets to generate interactive networks. GRANITE is an open-source tool and invaluable resource for a variety of genomic fields. Although our analysis is confined to static expression data, GRANITE has the capability of evaluating time-course data and generating interactive networks that may shed light on acute versus chronic treatment, as well as evaluating dose response and providing insight into mechanisms that underlie therapeutic versus sub-therapeutic doses or toxic doses. As a proof-of-concept study, we investigated lithium (Li) response in bipolar disorder (BD). BD is a severe mood disorder marked by cycles of mania and depression. Li is one of the most commonly prescribed and decidedly effective treatments for many patients (responders), although its mode of action is not yet fully understood, nor is it effective in every patient (non-responders). In an in vitro study, we compared vehicle versus chronic Li treatment in patient-derived lymphoblastoid cells (LCLs) (derived from either responders or non-responders) using both microRNA (miRNA) and messenger RNA gene expression profiling. We present both Li responder and non-responder network visualizations created by our GRANITE analysis in BD. We identified by network visualization that the Let-7 family is consistently downregulated by Li in both groups where this miRNA family has been implicated in neurodegeneration, cell survival and synaptic development. We discuss the potential of this analysis for investigating treatment response and even providing clinicians with a tool for predicting treatment response in their patients, as well as for providing the industry with a tool for identifying network nodes as targets for novel drug discovery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antimanic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Genomics / instrumentation
  • Genomics / methods
  • Humans
  • Lithium Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharmacogenetics / instrumentation
  • Pharmacogenetics / methods*
  • Statistics as Topic / instrumentation
  • Statistics as Topic / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antimanic Agents
  • Lithium Compounds
  • MicroRNAs