Glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta gene structural variants as possible risk factors of bipolar depression

Zsolt Ronai, Reka Kovacs-Nagy, Eszter Szantai, Zsuzsanna Elek, Maria Sasvari-Szekely, Gabor Faludi, Judit Benkovits, Janos M. Rethelyi, Anna Szekely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


The glycogen synthase kinase 3B (GSK3B) is an important target protein of several antidepressants, such as lithium, a mood stabilizer. Recent studies associated structural variations of the GSK3B gene to bipolar disorder (BP), although replications were not conclusive. Here we present data on copy number variations (CNVs) of the GSK3B gene probing the 9th exon region in 846 individuals (414 controls, 172 patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and 260 with BP). A significant accumulation (odds ratio: 5.5, P=0.00051) of the amplified exon 9 region was found in patients (22 out of 432) compared to controls (4 of 414). Analyzing patient subgroups, GSK3B structural variants were found to be risk factors of BP particularly (P=0.00001) with an odds ratio of 8.1 while no such effect was shown in the MDD group. The highest odds (19.7 ratio) for bipolar disorder was observed in females with the amplified exon 9 region. A more detailed analysis of the identified GSK3B CNV by a set of probes covering the GSK3B gene and the adjacent NR1I2 and C3orf15 genes showed that the amplified sequences contained 3′ (downstream) segments of the GSK3B and NR1I2 genes but none of them involved the C3orf15 gene. Therefore, the copy number variation of the GSK3B gene could be described as a complex set of structural variants involving partial duplications and deletions, simultaneously. In summary, here we confirmed significant association of the GSK3B CNV and bipolar disorder pointing out that the copy number and extension of the CNV varies among individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-222
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Bipolar depression
  • Copy number variation
  • GSK3B
  • Glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta
  • Major depression
  • Structural variants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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