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Keywords:

  • bipolar disorder;
  • serotonin transporter gene (SERT);
  • VNTR polymorphism

Abstract

A variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) polymorphism consisting of multiple copies of a 17-bp repeat in the second intron of the serotonin transporter gene (SERT) has been reported. Different alleles of this VNTR have been found to be associated with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. These findings have been confirmed in some populations, but disconfirmed in others. Furthermore, significant ethnic variations in the distribution of these alleles both in normal and patient populations also have been reported. We analyzed the VNTR polymorphism in 50 Indian patients with bipolar disorder and in ethnically matched controls. Two alleles corresponding to 10 and 12 repeats of the VNTR were found in both groups. There were no significant differences either in allele frequency or genotype frequency between the two groups. The nine-repeat allele that has been reported in Japanese and Caucasian populations was absent in our sample. Although it will be important to extend the present study in a larger sample, our initial results do not suggest any large association with alleles of the VNTR in the SERT gene and bipolar disorder in Indian patients. Am. J. Med. Genet. (Neuropsychiatr. Genet.) 96:170–172, 2000. © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.