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Keywords:

  • Alzheimer's disease;
  • biomarkers;
  • bipolar disorder;
  • phospholipases A2;
  • platelets

Objective

Phospholipases A2 (PLA2) comprise a family of hydrolytic enzymes that cleave membrane phospholipids and play a key role in cellular homeostasis. Alterations in enzymatic activity have been hypothesized in bipolar disorder (BD). Recent studies suggest that PLA2 activity in platelets may reflect PLA2 activity in the brain. The aim of this study was to determine PLA2 activity in platelets of BD patients.

Methods

We determined the activity of PLA2 subtypes [extracellular, calcium-dependent PLA2 (sPLA2), intracellular, calcium-dependent PLA2 (cPLA2), and intracellular, calcium-independent PLA2 (iPLA2)] by a radioenzymatic method in platelets from 20 patients with BD (15 drug-naïve and five drug-free) and from 16 age- and gender-matched healthy controls.

Results

We found that iPLA2, cPLA2, and sPLA2 activities were lower in drug-naïve patients with BD when compared to the control group (p = 0.017, p < 0.001, and p < 0.001, respectively).

Conclusions

Reduced PLA2 activity at the early stage of BD may disrupt brain function and increase the risk for the disease. Moreover, epidemiological studies show that patients with BD have a fivefold increased risk for developing Alzheimer's disease. Because patients with Alzheimer's disease also have reduced PLA2 activity, the present finding of reduced PLA2 in the BD group may be related to the risk factor for these individuals developing Alzheimer's disease in advanced age.