Association between the GABA(A) receptor α5 subunit gene locus (GABRA5) and bipolar affective disorder

George N. Papadimitriou, Dimitris G. Dikeos, Georgia Karadima, Dimitrios Avramopoulos, Eugenia G. Daskalopoulou, Demetris Vassilopoulos, Costas N. Stefanis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Genetic factors seem to play an important role in the pathogenesis of affective disorder. The candidate gene strategies are being used, among others, to identify the genes conferring vulnerability to the disease. The genes coding for the receptors of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) have been proposed as candidates for affective disorder, since the GABA neurotransmitter system has been implicated in the pathogenesis of the illness. We examined the possible genetic association between the GABA(A) receptor α5 subunit gene locus (GABRA5) on chromosome 15 and affective disorder, in 48 bipolar patients (BP), 40 unipolar patients (UP), and 50 healthy individuals, age- and sex-matched to the patients. All patients and controls were unrelated Greeks. Diagnoses were made after direct interviews according to the DSM-IV and ICD-10 criteria. For the genotyping, a dinucleotide (CA) repeat marker was used. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products found were nine alleles with lengths between 272 and 290 base pairs (bp). The distribution of allelic frequencies of the GABRA5 locus differed significantly between BP patients and controls with the 282-bp allele found to be associated with BP affective disorder, while no such difference was observed between the groups of UP patients and controls nor between the two patient groups. The presence or absence of the 282-bp allele in the genotype of BP patients was not shown to influence the age of onset and the overall clinical severity, but was found to be associated with a preponderance of manic over depressive episodes in the course of the illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-80
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics - Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 7 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Affective disorder
  • Association study
  • Chromosome 15
  • GABA-A receptor alpha- 5 subunit gene (GABRA5)
  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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