Advances in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2023 Jan 1;36(1):20-27. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000836. Epub 2022 Nov 15.


Purpose of review: Due to bipolar disorder clinical heterogeneity, a plethora of studies have provided new genetic, epigenetic, molecular, and cellular findings associated with its pathophysiology.

Recent findings: Genome-wide association studies and epigenetic evidence points to genotype-phenotype interactions associated with inflammation, oxidative stress, abnormalities in signaling pathways, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and circadian rhythm linked to mitochondrial dysfunction in bipolar disorder. Although the literature is constantly increasing, most of the genetic variants proposed as biomarkers remain to be validated by independent groups and use bigger samples and longitudinal approaches to enhance their power and predictive ability.

Summary: Regardless of which of the mechanisms described here plays a primary or secondary role in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder, all of these interact to worsen clinical outcomes for patients. Identifying new biomarkers for early detection, prognosis, and response to treatment might provide novel targets to prevent progression and promote general well being.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bipolar Disorder*
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System