OBJECTIVE: Bipolar disorder is a severe, recurrent, and often chronic psychiatric illness associated with significant functional impairment, morbidity, and mortality. Creatine kinase is an important enzyme, particularly for cells with high and fluctuating energy requirements, such as neurons, and is a potential marker of brain injury. The aim of the present study was to compare serum creatine kinase levels between bipolar disorder patients, in the various phases (depressive, manic, and euthymic), and healthy volunteers. METHOD: Forty-eight bipolar patients were recruited: 18 in the euthymic phase; 17 in the manic phase; and 13 in the depressive phase. The control group comprised 41 healthy volunteers. The phases of bipolar disorder were defined as follows: euthymic-not meeting the DSM-IV criteria for a mood episode and scoring < 8 on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS); manic-scoring < 7 on the HDRS and > 7 on the YMRS; depressive-scoring > 7 on the HDRS and < 7 on the YMRS. Patients in mixed phases were excluded. Blood samples were collected from all participants. RESULTS: Creatine kinase levels were higher in the manic patients than in the controls. However, we observed no significant difference between euthymic and depressive patients in terms of the creatine kinase level. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that the clinical differences among the depressive, manic, and euthymic phases of bipolar disorder are paralleled by contrasting levels of creatine kinase. However, further studies are needed in order to understand the state-dependent differences observed in serum creatine kinase activity.