Grant Information

Grant will continue IU research into genetics of manic depression

Reprinted with permission from the IU School of Medicine SCOPE, Volume 2, Number 19

Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM) researchers have received a $1.2 million, four-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to continue their research into the genetics of manic depressive illness.  The grant is part of $12 million awarded to nine institutions to support the on-going search for genes that cause bipolar affective disorder, more commonly known as manic depression.

John Nurnberger Jr., MD, PhD, is the principal investigator for the IUSM grant.   He will lead the IU research, looking for markers on seven different chromosomes (1, 6, 7, 10, 16, 21 and 22) with areas that appear related to bipolar disorder.

This grant will allow the IUSM researchers to proceed with similar research begun earlier under grants supporting work from 1989 to 1997.  This project is now expanded from four data collection sites to eight data collection sites.  Dr. Nurnberger was national coordinator for the four-site study and IUSM will retain a coordinating role for the new project.

"Isolating the genes that cause manic depression will allow researchers to develop better therapies for the disorder," said Dr. Nurnberger.  "Earlier research efforts have made great strides in identifying chromosomes involved in the disorder, so I am optimistic that some of the genes involved may be identified during the next few years."

Indiana University has been collaborating with other institutions seeking the genetic basis of the disorder which affects about 1 percent of the U.S. population.  Manic depression is characterized by severe swings in high and low mood states that generally last weeks or months.  Approximately 75 percent of all people with manic depression have at least one close relative with manic depression or severe depression.

The participants in this study are found primarily through the affiliations IU has with various local hospitals and clinics, as well as its own university facilities.

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