Both X-linkage and a parent-of-origin effect have been hypothesized in manic-depressive disorder. We have previously shown an allelic association between X-linked G6PD deficiency and manic depression in Mediterranean populations. To test both X-linkage and a parent-of-origin effect in manic depression further, we have studied 274 Sardinian manic-depressive probands and their parents. Excess of maternal transmission (P = 0.005) of major affective disorder was found in male probands carrying the G6PD-Mediterranean mutation. Our results provide indirect molecular support for an association between manic depression and the Xq28 chromosome region in Sardinia. Further studies on Xq28 using tests of allelic association and transmission disequilibrium with multiple DNA markers are required, to clarify the nature of the association we have found. Our study cannot implicate or exclude a direct role for G6PD deficiency in the aetiology of manic depression.