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Lithium is the gold standard treatment for bipolar disorder (BD). However, its mechanism of action is incompletely understood, and prediction of treatment outcomes is limited. In our previous multi-omics study of the Pharmacogenomics of Bipolar Disorder (PGBD) sample combining transcriptomic and genomic data, we found that focal adhesion, the extracellular matrix (ECM), and PI3K-Akt signaling networks were associated with response to lithium. In this study, we replicated the results of our previous study using network propagation methods in a genome-wide association study of an independent sample of 2,039 patients from the International Consortium on Lithium Genetics (ConLiGen) study. We identified functional enrichment in focal adhesion and PI3K-Akt pathways, but we did not find an association with the ECM pathway. Our results suggest that deficits in the neuronal growth cone and PI3K-Akt signaling, but not in ECM proteins, may influence response to lithium in BD.

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