OBJECTIVES: We previously demonstrated oxidative stress in bipolar patients and a relationship between the age of illness onset and total glutathione, a principal antioxidant. In this study, we sought to replicate these findings in a new cohort of patients. METHODS: We recruited bipolar patients from Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK, of similar age and grouped them according to age of onset of illness. The early-onset group comprised patients with onset at <23 years, and the late group comprised patients with onset at >30 years. A third group, comprising age-matched healthy volunteers, was also included. Reduced and oxidized glutathione, cysteine, and cystine were determined in plasma, using high-performance liquid chromatography. Mitochondrial DNA copy number, measured in whole blood, was also compared between patients and healthy controls. RESULTS: Significant increases in oxidative stress were observed in the patient groups, compared with the control group; however, no differences in glutathione-related oxidative stress measures were detected between the early- and late-onset bipolar patient groups. No differences were observed in the amount of mitochondrial DNA, and there was no correlation with mood state. CONCLUSION: Using a more accurate method to quantify oxidative stress than in our previous study, we show that oxidative stress is a consistent feature of bipolar disorder. Although we did not reproduce our finding correlating age of onset of illness to oxidative stress, we have shown, once again, that oxidative stress is a consistent feature of bipolar disorder.
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bipolar disorder, glutathione, oxidative stress, plasma redox state