Immunophenotypes associated with bipolar disorder and lithium treatment

Sci Rep. 2019 Nov 25;9(1):17453. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-53745-7.


Immune dysfunction is implicated in the etiology of bipolar disorder. The single-nucleotide polymorphism rs17026688 in the gene encoding glutamate decarboxylase-like protein 1 (GADL1) has been found to be associated with lithium response in Han Chinese patients with bipolar I disorder (BDI). However, whether patients with GADL1 polymorphisms have different immunophenotypes is unknown. To address this issue, differences in the immune profiles based on analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were compared among BDI patients and healthy controls who lack or carry the T allele of rs17026688. BDI patients had significantly higher percentages of total T cells, CD4+ T cells, activated B cells, and monocytes than healthy controls, suggesting that immunologic imbalance might be involved in BDI development or progression. Treatment of BDI patients-derived PBMCs with lithium in vitro increased the percentage of CD14+ monocytes and dendritic cells, suggesting that lithium plays an immunomodulatory role in CD14+ monocytes and dendritic cells. Among BDI patients, non-T carriers had a significantly higher percentage of CD11b+/CD33lo/HLA-DR- myeloid-derived suppressor cells than T carriers. Moreover, only T carriers exhibited differential sensitivity to lithium therapeutic use with respect to the percentage of myeloid cells. These findings suggest that rs17026688 polymorphisms in GADL1 are associated with immune dysfunction in BDI patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD / analysis*
  • Asian People / genetics
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy
  • Bipolar Disorder / genetics
  • Bipolar Disorder / immunology*
  • Carboxy-Lyases / genetics*
  • Ethnicity / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Lithium Carbonate / pharmacology
  • Lithium Carbonate / therapeutic use*
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / chemistry
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells / chemistry
  • Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells / drug effects
  • Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells / immunology*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacology
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use*


  • Antigens, CD
  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Lithium Carbonate
  • Carboxy-Lyases
  • GADL1 protein, human