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03-06-2010 | Mental health | Article

Cerebrospinal fluid particles linked to bipolar disorder disease processes


Free abstract

MedWire News: Novel particles identified in the first fraction of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from bipolar disorder patients may correlate with the degree of underlying disease processes in the central nervous system, suggests a team of Swedish scientists.

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has been employed to recognize potentially pathogenic structures in the CSF of schizophrenia patients. However, it has not been used to examine the CSF of patients with bipolar disorder.

To investigate further, Lennart Wetterberg, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and colleagues compared fresh CSF samples from 56 euthymic bipolar disorder patients, of whom 31 had bipolar I disorder and 25 had bipolar II disorder, with those from 20 mentally healthy controls.

The team reports in the journal Bipolar Disorders that they studied the first 0.6 ml of CSF and the following 12.0 ml for microscopic structures, rating the quantity and patterns of the particles.

No particles were identified in CSF samples from the controls, either in the first or second fraction. In contrast, 45 bipolar disorder patients were found to have morphological structures in the first CSF fraction, while just two patients had such structures in the second CSF fraction.

Forty three of the patients with morphological structures in the first fraction had either spherical particles alone or in combination with thread-like forms, or threads with micrometer-sized spherical particles closely attached. The two remaining patients had threads without any spherical particles.

Patients with morphological structures were more likely to have bipolar I disorder, a history of psychosis in manic state and certified hospitalization, and lower comorbidity than those with no structures.

The team says: “The presence of microscopic structures in CSF might be relevant for future studies of the possible causative role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of bipolar disorder.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Liam Davenport

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