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Keywords:

  • bipolar disorder;
  • DAOA;
  • G72;
  • MRI;
  • voxel based morphometry

Background:  Variation in the G72 (DAOA) gene is understood to convey susceptibility for bipolar disorder through an uncertain mechanism. Little is known about the structural brain phenotypes associated with this gene. We hypothesised that reductions in temporal lobe and amygdala gray matter would be associated with variation at two loci in the gene for which evidence of genetic linkage has been repeatedly demonstrated.

Methods:  We examined the temporal lobe and amygdala gray matter associations of the risk variants M23 and M24 at the 5′ end of the gene encoding G72 in 81 controls and 38 people with bipolar disorder.

Results:  Genetic variation at both the M23 and M24 loci in G72 were associated with decreased gray matter density within the left temporal pole in people with bipolar disorder. M23 was also associated with reductions in right amygdala gray matter density. The genetic imaging associations were found only in patients with bipolar disorder.

Conclusions:  Genetic variation at single nucleotide polymorphisms in the G72 gene previously associated with bipolar disorder is related to reductions in temporal pole and amygdala gray matter structure in people with bipolar disorder.