Findings on the association between the risk for developing bipolar disorder and the functions of the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region gene (5-HTTLPR) and dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2) variants are contradictory. One explanation for this is that a gender difference may exist for genetic contributions. We compared the gender-related main effects and the gene-to-gene interaction between serotonin transporter gene
(SLC6A4) and DRD2 in adult male and female patients with bipolar I (BP-I) and bipolar II (BP-II) disorder. Patients with BP-I (n = 400) and BP-II (n = 493), and healthy controls (n = 442) were recruited from Taiwan's Han Chinese population. The genotypes of the 5-HTTLPR and DRD2 Taq-IA polymorphisms were determined using polymerase chain reaction−restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Logistic regression analysis showed a significant gender-specific association of the DRD2 A1/A1 and the 5-HTTLPR S/S, S/L
, and L
(S+) (p = 0.01) genotypes in men with BP-I (p = 0.002 and 0.01, respectively) and BP-II (p = 0.001 and 0.007, respectively), but not in women. A significant interaction for the DRD2 A1/A1 and 5-HTTLPR S+ polymorphisms was also found only in men with BP-I and BP-II (p = 0.003 and 0.001, respectively). We provide preliminary evidence for a gender-specific effect of the SLC6A4 and DRD2 gene variants for the risk of BP-I and of BP-II. We also found gender-specific interaction between 5-HTTLPR and DRD2 Taq-IA polymorphisms in patients with bipolar disorder.