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Mol Psychiatry. 2003 Feb;8(2):241-5.

Evidence that the N-methyl-D-aspartate subunit 1 receptor gene (GRIN1) confers susceptibility to bipolar disorder.

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  • 1Neurogenetics Section, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Clarke Site R-31, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 1R8.


There is evidence for the involvement of glutamatergic transmission in the pathogenesis of major psychoses. The two most commonly used mood stabilizers (ie lithium and valproate) have been found to act via the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR), suggesting a specific role of NMDAR in the pathogenesis of bipolar disorder (BP). The key subunit of the NMDAR, named NMDA-1 receptor, is coded by a gene located on chromosome 9q34.3 (GRIN1). We tested for the presence of linkage disequilibrium between the GRIN1 (1001-G/C, 1970-A/G, and 6608-G/C polymorphisms) and BP. A total of 288 DSM-IV Bipolar I, Bipolar II, or schizoaffective disorder, manic type, probands with their living parents were studied. In all, 73 triads had heterozygous parents for the 1001-G/C polymorphism, 174 for the 1970-A/G, and 48 for the 6608-G/C. These triads were suitable for the final analyses, that is, the transmission disequilibrium test (TDT) and the haplotype-TDT. For the 1001-G/C and the 6608-G/C polymorphisms, we found a preferential transmission of the G allele to the affected individuals (chi(2)=4.765, df=1, P=0.030 and chi(2)= 8.395, df=1, P=0.004, respectively). The 1001G-1970A-6608A and the 1001G-1970A-6608G haplotypes showed the strongest association with BP (global chi(2)=14.12, df=4, P=0.007). If these results are replicated there could be important implications for the involvement of the GRIN1 in the pathogenesis of BP. The role of the gene variants in predicting the response to mood stabilizers in BP should also be investigated.

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