Cellular changes

What are brain cell changes in bipolar disorder?

Neurons send and receive information via electrical and chemical processes in the brain. Interneurons are a subset of neurons that are involved in the processing and modulation of information. Glial cells are brain cells that play a role in neurodevelopment, neurotransmission, connectivity, brain metabolism, and the clearance of extracellular ions and neurotransmitters. Astrocytes are the most prevalent glial cell and are primarily involved in neurodevelopment. They also regulate synaptic transmission, mediate glutamate reuptake, and aid in the maintenance of the blood-brain barrier. Oligodendrocytes are glial cells that produce myelin that is used for electrical insulation of nerve axons to ensure rapid impulse conduction. Microglia are glial immune cells that are important for the initiation and control of inflammation in the central nervous system.

What is the evidence for cellular changes in people with bipolar disorder?

Moderate to low quality evidence found no consistent changes in the number, density, or size of neurons, interneurons, or glial cells in people with bipolar disorder compared to people without bipolar disorder.

December 2021

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Last updated at: 5:48 pm, 12th December 2021
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