Systematic genetic analyses of genome-wide association study data reveal an association between the key nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase complex and bipolar disorder development.

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Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) are used to identify genetic variants for association with bipolar disorder (BD) risk; however, each GWAS can only reveal a small fraction of this association. This study systematically analyzed multiple GWAS data sets to provide further insights into potential causal BD processes by integrating the results of Psychiatric Genomics Consortium Phase I (PGC-I) for BD with core human pathways and functional networks.


The i-Gsea4GwasV2 program was used to analyze data from the PGC-I GWAS for BD (the pathways came from Reactome), as well as the nominally significant pathways. We established a gene network of the significant pathways and performed a gene set analysis for each gene cluster of the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) GWAS data for the volumes of the intracranial region and seven subcortical regions.


A total of 30 of 1816 Reactome pathways were identified and showed associations with BD risk. We further revealed 22 interconnected functional and topologically interacting clusters (Clusters 0-21) that were associated with BD risk. Moreover, we obtained brain transcriptome data from BrainSpan and found significant associations between common variants of the genes in Cluster 1 with the hippocampus (HIP; P = .026; family-wise error [FWE] correction) and amygdala (AMY; P = .016; FEW correction) in Cluster 8 with HIP (P = .022; FWE correction). The genes in Cluster 1  were  enriched  for the transcriptional co-expression profile in the prenatal AMY, and core genes (CDH4, MTA2, RBBP4, and HDAC2) were identified to be involved in regulating early brain development.


This study demonstrated that the HIP and AMY play a central role in neurodevelopment and BD risk.

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