The biological bases of bipolar disorder include aspects related, among others, to neurohormonal pathways, neurotransmission, signal transduction, regulation of gene expression, oxidative stress, neuroplasticity, and changes in the immune system. There is still a gap in understanding its complex neurobiology and, consequently, developing new treatments. Multiple factors probably interact in this complex equation of pathophysiology of bipolar disorder, such as genetic, biochemical, psychosocial, and environmental stress events, correlating with the development and severity of the bipolar disorder. These mechanisms can interact to exacerbate inflammation, impair neurogenesis, and increase oxidative stress damage, cellular mitochondrial dysfunction, changes in neurotrophins and in epigenetic mechanisms, neuroendocrine dysfunction, activation of neuronal death pathways, and dysfunction in neurotransmission systems. In this review, we explore the up-to-date knowledge of the neurobiological underpinnings of bipolar disorders. The difficulty in developing new drugs for bipolar disorder is very much associated with the lack of knowledge about the precise pathophysiology of this disorder. Pharmacological treatment for bipolar patients is vital; to progress to effective medications, it is essential to understand the neurobiology in bipolar patients better and identify novel therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-324
Number of pages22
JournalCurrent topics in behavioral neurosciences
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Feb 2021


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