Men and Women Have Different Bipolar Disorder Biomarkers, Research Reveals

Mental Health News: Men and women react differently to compounds associated with immune responses to bipolar disorder, which indicates treatments could be tailored differently for men and women.

Bipolar disorder is a recurrent, episodic mood disorder, with no current diagnostic, prognostic or theranostic biomarkers. Earlier researchers have observed that effects of bipolar disorder differ in men, women. Depressive episodes, mixed mania, rapid cycling, post-traumatic stress disorder, migraines, sleep disturbances and dysregulated mood are reported more in women than men with this condition. Bipolar II is more commonly seen in women than men.

Researchers at Penn State found that bipolar disorder also alters the immune system, causing harmful inflammation in the brain. People experiencing mania or depression may have certain parts of the brain affected. For instance, shrinkage in the hippocampus region, important for memory function.

The research team aimed to identify some immune differences that would distinguish bipolar in men versus women. They measured two immune system factors, zinc and neopterin, that are involved in inflammatory responses for 27 participants with bipolar disorder versus 31 participants who were otherwise healthy.

Upon comparing that data in both groups, the research team found that people with bipolar disorder seemed to have lower levels of zinc than healthy people. Upon looking at the differences between the genders, they noted that women with high concentrations of zinc were prone to worse depression, whereas men with high concentrations of neopterin were prone to worse mania.

The study findings have important implications for future diagnostic tests and treatment for men and women with this disease.

To Know More You May Refer To:

Caitlin E. Millett, Dahlia Mukherjee, Aubrey Reider, Adem Can, Maureen Groer, Dietmar Fuchs, Teodor T. Postolache, Shannon L. Kelleher, Erika F.H. Saunders. Peripheral zinc and neopterin concentrations are associated with mood severity in bipolar disorder in a gender-specific manner. Psychiatry Research, 2017; 255: 52 DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.05.022V

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