New study finds schizophrenia-related genes in bipolar patients resistant to lithium drug treatment

new study finds schizophrenia related genes in bipolar patients resistant to lithium drug treatment

According to researchers, people having bipolar disorder and resistant to treatment with lithium drug have genes associated with schizophrenia. Lithium has been largely used to treat bipolar disorder. It is known to pacify mood swings that are associated with the disorder, and prevents against dramatic highs and lows as well as reduces suicide risk. Around 25% of the patients are not responsive to the drug and 30% respond only partially.

To understand the non-responsive nature of some patients, researchers studied genes of 2500 patients with bipolar disorder, who consumed lithium as a treatment drug. The study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

The study author Bernhard Baune, psychiatry head, University of Adelaide, said that patients with bipolar disorder, who did not respond to lithium, had genes associated with schizophrenia. However, this does not indicate that patients are at a higher risk of developing schizophrenia, but only depicts their tendency to be less responsive to treatment like lithium.

Researchers identified new genes within the immune system that are expected to play important roles in the pathways of lithium and outcome of the treatment.


According to Baune, alongside other biomarkers, the findings will enhance the ability to predict the response to treatment before intervention. This research explains how people with the psychiatric disorder and bipolar disorders can be cured future.