A Homer 1 gene variant influences brain structure and function, lithium effects on white matter, and antidepressant response in bipolar disorder: A multimodal genetic imaging study

F Benedetti, S Poletti, C Locatelli, E Mazza, C Lorenzi, A Vitali, M Riberto, S Brioschi, B Vai, I Bollettini, Elisa Maria Teresa Melloni, V Aggio, A Falini, A De Bartolomeis, C Colombo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: The Homer family of postsynaptic scaffolding proteins plays a crucial role in glutamate-mediated synaptic plasticity, a phenotype associated with Bipolar Disorder (BD). Homer is a target for antidepressants and mood stabilizers. The AA risk genotype of the Homer rs7713917 A>G SNP has been associated with mood disorders and suicide, and in healthy humans with brain function. Despite the evidence linking Homer 1 gene and function to mood disorder, as well as its involvement in animal models of depression, no study has yet investigated the role of Homer in bipolar depression and treatment response. METHODS: We studied 199 inpatients, affected by a major depressive episode in course of BD. 147 patients were studied with structural MRI of grey and white matter, and 50 with BOLD functional MRI of emotional processing. 158 patients were treated with combined total sleep deprivation and light therapy. RESULTS: At neuroimaging, patients with the AA genotype showed lower grey matter volumes in medial prefrontal cortex, higher BOLD fMRI neural responses to emotional stimuli in anterior cingulate cortex, and lower fractional anisotropy in bilateral frontal WM tracts. Lithium treatment increased axial diffusivity more in AA patients than in G*carriers. At clinical evaluation, the same AA homozygotes showed a worse antidepressant response to combined SD and LT. CONCLUSIONS: rs7713917 influenced brain grey and white matter structure and function in BD, long term effects of lithium on white matter structure, and antidepressant response to chronotherapeutics, thus suggesting that glutamatergic neuroplasticity and Homer 1 function might play a role in BD psychopathology and response to treatment. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Cite this