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RefSeq (mRNA)



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Neurocan core protein is a protein that in humans is encoded by the NCAN gene.[1][2]

Neurocan is a member of the lectican / chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan protein families and consists of neurocan core protein and chondroitin sulfate. It is thought to be involved in the modulation of cell adhesion and migration.[2]

Role in bipolar disorder

Neurocan is a significant component of the extracellular matrix, and its levels are modulated by a variety of factors, but mice in which the NCAN gene has been knocked out show no easily observable defects in brain development or behavior.[3] However, a genome-wide association study published in 2011 identified Neurocan as a susceptibility factor for bipolar disorder.[4] A more comprehensive study published in 2012 confirmed that association.[5] The 2012 study examined correlations between NCAN alleles and various symptoms of bipolar disorder, and also examined the behavior of NCAN knockout mice. In the human subjects, it was found that NCAN genotype was strongly associated with manic symptoms but not with depressive symptoms. In the mice, the absence of functional Neurocan resulted in a variety of manic-like behaviors, which could be normalized by administering lithium.


  1. Rauch U, Karthikeyan L, Maurel P, Margolis RU, Margolis RK (Oct 1992). "Cloning and primary structure of neurocan, a developmentally regulated, aggregating chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan of brain". J Biol Chem. 267 (27): 19536–47. PMID 1326557.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Entrez Gene: NCAN neurocan".
  3. Zhou XH, Brakebusch C, Matthies H, Oohashi T, Hirsch E, Moser M, Krug M, Seidenbecher CI, Boeckers TM, Rauch U, Buettner R, Gundelfinger ED, Fässler R (September 2001). "Neurocan is dispensable for brain development". Mol. Cell. Biol. 21 (17): 5970–8. PMC 87315. PMID 11486035.
  4. Cichon S, Mühleisen TW, Degenhardt FA, Mattheisen M, Miró X, Strohmaier J, Steffens M, Meesters C, Herms S, Weingarten M, Priebe L, Haenisch B, Alexander M, Vollmer J, Breuer R, Schmäl C, Tessmann P, Moebus S, Wichmann HE, Schreiber S, Müller-Myhsok B, Lucae S, Jamain S, Leboyer M, Bellivier F, Etain B, Henry C, Kahn JP, Heath S, Hamshere M, O'Donovan MC, Owen MJ, Craddock N, Schwarz M, Vedder H, Kammerer-Ciernioch J, Reif A, Sasse J, Bauer M, Hautzinger M, Wright A, Mitchell PB, Schofield PR, Montgomery GW, Medland SE, Gordon SD, Martin NG, Gustafsson O, Andreassen O, Djurovic S, Sigurdsson E, Steinberg S, Stefansson H, Stefansson K, Kapur-Pojskic L, Oruc L, Rivas F, Mayoral F, Chuchalin A, Babadjanova G, Tiganov AS, Pantelejeva G, Abramova LI, Grigoroiu-Serbanescu M, Diaconu CC, Czerski PM, Hauser J, Zimmer A, Lathrop M, Schulze TG, Wienker TF, Schumacher J, Maier W, Propping P, Rietschel M, Nöthen MM (March 2011). "Genome-wide association study identifies genetic variation in neurocan as a susceptibility factor for bipolar disorder". Am. J. Hum. Genet. 88 (3): 372–81. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.01.017. PMC 3059436. PMID 21353194.
  5. Miró X, Meier S, Dreisow ML, Frank J, Strohmaier J, Breuer R, Schmäl C, Albayram Ö, Pardo-Olmedilla MT, Mühleisen TW, Degenhardt FA, Mattheisen M, Reinhard I, Bilkei-Gorzo A, Cichon S, Seidenbecher C, Rietschel M, Nöthen MM, Zimmer A (September 2012). "Studies in humans and mice implicate neurocan in the etiology of mania". Am J Psychiatry. 169 (9): 982–90. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.11101585. PMID 22952076.

Further reading