School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

A pilot pharmacogenetic study of calcium channel blocker treatment of bipolar mania

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  • A pilot study reports an association of polymorphisms of calcium channel genes and response to treatment of add-on calcium channel blocker (CCB) medication in bipolar disorder manic episodes.•

  • SNPs rs2739258/rs2739260 AG-allele had a better treatment response to add-on CCB than those carrying the AA or GG genotypes.•

  • SNPs residing in calcium channel genes could be predictors for add-on CCB treatment response of mania.


Common genetic variants located in calcium channel genes are important markers of genetic susceptibility for bipolar disorder (BD). Previous clinical trials with Calcium Channel Blocker (CCB) medication improved mood stability for some BD patients. We hypothesize that manic patients who carried calcium channel risk variants would differentially benefit from treatment with CCBs. In this pilot study, 50 BD patients (Chinese: 39; US: 11) who were hospitalized for manic episodes were given add-on CCB treatment. We determined genotypes for each patient. There was a significant decrease in the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) after add-on medication treatment. Of note, two intronic variants of the Calcium Voltage-Gated Channel Subunit Alpha1 B (CACNA1B) were associated with treatment outcomes for manic patients: rs2739258 and rs2739260. BD rs2739258/rs2739260 AG-allele carriers had a better treatment response with add-on CCB than those carrying the AA or GG genotypes by survival analysis. Although these findings did not pass multiple testing correction, this study suggests that single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) residing in calcium channel genes could be predictors for response to add-on CCB treatment of bipolar mania patients, and that calcium channel genes may be involved in treatment responses for BD.


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Psychiatry research



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Mentor/PI Department