Genome-wide association studies in bipolar disorder (BD)1 have implicated a single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs1006737, G right arrow A) in the CACNA1C gene, which encodes for the alpha 1c (CAV1.2) subunit of the voltage-gated, L-type calcium channel. Neuroimaging studies of healthy individuals report that this risk allele modulates brain function within limbic (amygdala, anterior cingulate gyrus) and hippocampal regions during tasks of reward processing2, 3 and episodic memory. Moreover, animal studies suggest that the CaV1.2 L-type calcium channels influence emotional behaviour through enhanced neurotransmission via the lateral amygdala pathway. On the basis of this evidence, we tested the hypotheses that the CACNA1C rs1006737 risk allele will modulate neural responses within predefined prefrontal and subcortical regions of interest during emotional face processing and that this effect would be amplified in BD patients.
Jogia, J., Ruberto, G., Lelli-Chiesa, G., Vassos, E., Maierú, M., Tatarelli, R., Girardi, P., Collier, D., & Frangou, S. (2011). The impact of the CACNA1C gene polymorphism on frontolimbic function in bipolar disorder. Molecular Psychiatry, 16(11), 1070-1071. https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2011.49