ANK3 encodes Ankyrin-3, which plays a key role in sodium channel functioning and regulation of excitatory signalling. The gene has been linked to conditions characterised by mood instability.
Genes encoding proteins involved in cell signalling are important in ensuring normal cell-to-cell communication among nerve cells (neurons), neuronal survival, and the formation of memories. Cell-signalling proteins also serve important roles in activating the release of specific neurotransmitters and hormones.
Calcium and sodium signalling controls many neurological functions, including neurotransmitter release and regulation of excitatory signalling in the brain. Disruptions in these pathways have been linked to mood disorders, specifically bipolar disorder.
The ANK3 AG genotype has been linked to mildly increased excitatory signalling. Individuals carrying the ANK3 T allele have been associated with and increased risk for bipolar disorder. If clinically indicated, and in context, moderation of excitatory signalling can be achieved via the use of n-3 fatty acids and/or mood stabilisers.