AbstractDepression and bipolar disorder are two of the commonest illnesses in the developed world. While some patients can be treated effectively with available drugs, many do not respond, especially in the depression related to bipolar disorder. Depression is associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, immunological abnormalities, multiple sclerosis, cancer, osteoporosis and ageing: in each case depressed individuals have a worse outcome than non-depressed individuals. In all of these conditions there is now evidence of impaired phospholipid metabolism and impaired fatty acid-related signal transduction processes. Impaired fatty acid and phospholipid metabolism may be a primary cause of depression in many patients and may explain the interactions with other diseases. Several novel gene candidates for involvement in depression and bipolar disorder are proposed.
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