Tryptophan hydroxylase is the rate-limiting enzyme in the serotonin biosynthetic pathway and plays an important role in the regulation of serotonin levels. Recently, a brain-specific isoform, tryptophan hydroxylase 2 or n-tryptophan hydroxylase, has been discovered. Some studies reported genetic and functional associations between this isoform and bipolar disorder and/or major depressive disorder. The aim of this study was to investigate further association of genetic variants in French Canadian samples with bipolar disorders.
Genetic variants in the tryptophan hydroxylase 2 gene were genotyped in a case-control sample consisting of 225 affected individuals (191 bipolar I and 34 bipolar II) and 221 controls and in a collection of extended pedigrees and trios from the same population 357 nuclear families (201 bipolar I, 64 bipolar II, 79 recurrent major depressive disorder).
We determined linkage disequilibrium structure in our isolated population and analyzed six tagged single nucleotide polymorphisms in the case-control sample. Whereas no single, single nucleotide polymorphism gave any significant result, a three single nucleotide polymorphism haplotype gave a global P=0.01. Family-based association showed significant association (P=0.004) of one polymorphism (rs4290270) with the major allele overtransmitted to affected offspring.
Case-control and family-based association studies further support the presence of a susceptibility locus for bipolar disorder in tryptophan hydroxylase 2 by showing statistically significant associations with both, single nucleotide polymorphism alone and haplotype of single nucleotide polymorphism markers.