Objectives: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met (rs6265) functional polymorphism has been implicated in early-onset bipolar disorder. However, results of studies are inconsistent. We aimed to further explore this association. Methods: DNA samples from the Treatment of Early Age Mania (TEAM) and Mayo Clinic Bipolar Disorder Biobank were investigated for association of rs6265 with early-onset bipolar disorder. Bipolar cases were classified as early onset if the first manic or depressive episode occurred at age ≤19 years (versus adult-onset cases at age >19 years). After quality control, 69 TEAM early-onset bipolar disorder cases, 725 Mayo Clinic bipolar disorder cases (including 189 early-onset cases), and 764 controls were included in the analysis of association, assessed with logistic regression assuming log-additive allele effects. Results: Comparison of TEAM cases with controls suggested association of early-onset bipolar disorder with the rs6265 minor allele [odds ratio (OR) = 1.55, p = 0.04]. Although comparison of early-onset adult bipolar disorder cases from the Mayo Clinic versus controls was not statistically significant, the OR estimate indicated the same direction of effect (OR = 1.21, p = 0.19). When the early-onset TEAM and Mayo Clinic early-onset adult groups were combined and compared with the control group, the association of the minor allele rs6265 was statistically significant (OR = 1.30, p = 0.04). Conclusions: These preliminary analyses of a relatively small sample with early-onset bipolar disorder are suggestive that functional variation in BDNF is implicated in bipolar disorder risk and may have a more significant role in early-onset expression of the disorder.
- Bipolar disorder
- Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
- Early onset