Mitochondrial dysfunction as an underlying cause of bipolar disorder
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Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric disorder with alarming rates of morbidity and mortality. Since the pathophysiology of the disease is not well understood, it is difficult to develop treatments or even explain why the current treatments are successful. An increasingly popular hypothesis is that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a role. This paper examines the relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and bipolar disorder by examining the following: (i) mitochondrial complex I dysfunction and oxidative damage, (ii) mitochondrial complex I dysfunction, epigenetic modifications, and treatment with lithium, (iii) post-mortem brain studies, (iv) the mtDNA common deletion, (v) calcium, (vi) comorbidity with mitochondrial disorders, (vii) lactate and intracellular pH levels, (viii) phosphocreatine, (ix) apoptosis, and (x) inositol. These studies point to a definitive correlation between the bipolar disorder and mitochondrial dysfunction, but it is too soon to determine causation. Further research is needed.