Lithium in the Treatment of Bipolar Disorder: Pharmacology and Pharmacogenetics
- Martin Alda
- Molecular Psychiatry
The Faroe Islands are a small group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, situated between Norway, Iceland and Scotland. The origin of the population is thought to be a mixture of Norwegian, Danish and British. The islands were populated at the same time as Iceland, i.e. around 1100 years ago, and the size of the population was around, and occasionally below, 4000 inhabitants until 1800, after which it increased to its present-day level of around 45,000. The population is descended from Scandinavian and British ancestors. Because of the low number of founders and small size for many centuries, the Faroese population is perhaps the most valuable European population for genetic mapping of complex disease genes. The present study searched for haplotype sharing on chromosome 18 among eight lithium responding patients with bipolar affective disorder related, on average, 6.2 generations ago, using 30 DNA markers. In order to obtain as homogeneous a sample as possible, strict inclusion criteria based on severity of phenotype, geography and treatment response, were applied. Evidence suggestive of increased haplotype sharing on the distal part of chromosome 18q23 in the region implicated by Freimer and co-workers was found. However, methods of genetic analysis which might provide a conclusive result are not yet available.