Abnormal blood lipid levels are common in individuals with bipolar disorder (BD). Previous studies have revealed lipid-mood associations in adults with BD, but no data on this relationship is available in youth populations. This cross-sectional study examined the associations of lipid levels with mood states and symptoms in a cohort of youth with BD.
Participants were youth with BD and healthy controls (HCs) between the ages of 13-20 years. We compared the levels of total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides (TG), and TG/HDL-C ratio between 4 participant episode groups: BD-euthymic (n = 28), BD-depressed (n = 29) BD-hypomanic/mixed (n = 31), and HCs (n = 89). We also examined for dimensional associations of lipids with mania and depression scores in the overall BD group and within BD episode subgroups.
TG levels were significantly higher in the BD-euthymic group (p = 0.008, d = 0.59) and in the BD-mixed/hypomanic group (p = 0.03, d = 0.44) compared to the HC group. TG/HDL-C ratio was also higher in the BD-euthymic group compared to the HC group (p = 0.01, d = 0.51). No dimensional associations were found between lipids and mood symptom scores in the overall BD group. However, within the BD-mixed/hypomanic subgroup, higher mania scores were associated with higher TG (β = 0.42, p = 0.04), TG/HDL-C ratio (β = 0.59, p = 0.002), and lower HDL-C (β = 0.56 p = 0.002).
Youth with BD demonstrate atherogenic lipid profiles. Higher atherogenic lipids were associated with hypomanic but, contrasting adult BD studies, not depressive symptoms. Future prospective studies are warranted to evaluate the temporal association between lipids and mood among youth with BD.

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