22 Jun Bipolar Breakthrough
Millions of people all over the world are suffering from a bipolar mental disorder. There is a recent breakthrough that can help cure and even prevent this illness; research has shown that a deficiency in protein may be the cause for this mental issue.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
A bipolar mental disorder is a kind of a manic depressive state that is known to affect 2.6% adults in the US and around 60 million people in the world. A lot of these reported cases are severe. A person who has this illness faces drastic swings in mood and energy levels that hamper their day-to-day life.
The causes of Bipolar Disorder are not known, but older studies have shown a genetic connected to the issue. The gene that is known to encode phospholipase Cγ1 (a cellular protein) is said to be associated with Bipolar Disorder, but the specific cause is still unknown.
New Research on the Subject
A recent study conducted on mice, in South Korea in the UNIST (the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology), has shown a relation between phospholipase Cγ1 (PLCγ1) and the illness.
The entire study led by Dr. Pann-Ghill was published in the Molecular Psychiatry Journal, clearly states that a deficiency of phospholipase Cγ1 in mice causes a bipolar disorder in them.
The team of researchers consists of professors of life sciences at the University and had genetically created mice with a deficiency of phospholipase Cγ1 in their brain for the tests. They studied the nerve ends of the mice and the electric signal exchange amongst brain cells. The team found impairment in the synaptic plasticity and inhibitory transmission.
Several synaptic functions are known to be regulated by a protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), including the working of phospholipase Cγ1. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is essential in the synapse formation and research showed that a deficit in it caused an imbalance between the inhibitory and excitatory transmission in the brain cell synapses.
The team deduced that a mouse deprived of brain-derived neurotrophic factor showed symptoms of a Bipolar disorder, like anxiety, hyperactivity, extreme hunger, impaired memory and learning, hyperhedonia and even odd startle responses. When administered drugs were given to these mice the above symptoms reduced with time.
Conclusion of the Research
There is a neurochemical chain reaction that seems to be the cause of the Bipolar disorder. Synapses who do not have enough phospholipase Cγ1 are not able to conduct inhibitory function correctly, as their brain-derived neurotrophic factor is not functioning correctly. Causing an imbalance in levels of inhibitory and excitatory synapses and thereby causing a bipolar disorder in the mice.
Before this research was conducted by Dr. Pann, it was unclear how phospholipase Cγ1 affected the inter-neuronal signal of the brain and caused the disorder.
The research that was carried out over a span of ten years has given us a bipolar breakthrough and will play a crucial role in the treatment of the illness, once it has been tested on humans.
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