High concentrations of lithium in drinking water were previously discovered in the Argentinean Andes Mountains. Lithium is used worldwide for treatment of bipolar disorder and treatment-resistant depression. One known side effect is altered thyroid function.
We assessed associations between exposure to lithium from drinking water and other environmental sources and thyroid function.
Women (n = 202) were recruited in four Andean villages in northern Argentina. Lithium exposure was assessed based on concentrations in spot urine samples, measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Thyroid function was evaluated by plasma free thyroxine (T4) and pituitary gland thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), analyzed by routine immunometric methods.
The median urinary lithium concentration was 3,910 μg/L (5th, 95th percentiles, 270 μg/L, 10,400 μg/L). Median plasma concentrations (5th, 95th percentiles) of T4 and TSH were 17 pmol/L (13 pmol/L, 21 pmol/L) and 1.9 mIU/L, (0.68 mIU/L, 4.9 mIU/L), respectively. Urine lithium was inversely associated with T4 [β for a 1,000-μg/L increase = −0.19; 95% confidence interval (CI), −0.31 to −0.068; p = 0.002] and positively associated with TSH (β = 0.096; 95% CI, 0.033 to 0.16; p = 0.003). Both associations persisted after adjustment (for T4, β = −0.17; 95% CI, −0.32 to −0.015; p = 0.032; for TSH: β = 0.089; 95% CI, 0.024 to 0.15; p = 0.007). Urine selenium was positively associated with T4 (adjusted T4 for a 1 μg/L increase: β = 0.041; 95% CI, 0.012 to 0.071; p = 0.006).
Exposure to lithium via drinking water and other environmental sources may affect thyroid function, consistent with known side effects of medical treatment with lithium. This stresses the need to screen for lithium in all drinking water sources.
bipolar disorder; iodine; lithium; selenium; thyroid-stimulating hormone; thyroxine
This work demonstrates the first whole brain “high spatial resolution” 7Li MRSI in bipolar disorder subjects. The in vivo quantification is validated by a phantom containing 5 mM lithium salt using the identical RF sequence and imaging protocol. This study is the first demonstration of the 7Li distribution in the brain of bipolar disorder patients on lithium therapy using a 3D MRSI approach. The results show that brain lithium level is strongly correlated with serum lithium concentration. The brain-to-serum lithium ratio for the average brain and the local maximum were 0.39 ± 0.08 (r = 0.93) and 0.92 ± 0.16 (r= 0.90), respectively. The lithium distribution is found to be non-uniform throughout the brain for all patients, which is somewhat unexpected and highly intriguing. This uneven distribution is more evident in subjects at a higher therapeutic serum lithium level. This finding may suggest that lithium targets specific brain tissues and/or certain enzymatic and macromolecular sites that are associated with therapeutic effect. Further investigations of bipolar disorder patients on lithium therapy using 3D 7Li MRSI are warranted.
Lithium; MRSI; Bipolar disorder; Fourier transform
Lithium is the most effective mood stabilizer for the treatment of bipolar disorder, but it is toxic at only twice the therapeutic dosage and has many undesirable side effects. It is likely that a small molecule could be found with lithium-like efficacy but without toxicity through target-based drug discovery; however, lithium’s therapeutic target remains equivocal. Inositol monophosphatase is a possible target but no bioavailable inhibitors exist. Here we report that the antioxidant ebselen inhibits inositol monophosphatase and induces lithium-like effects on mouse behaviour, which are reversed with inositol, consistent with a mechanism involving inhibition of inositol recycling. Ebselen is part of the National Institutes of Health Clinical Collection, a chemical library of bioavailable drugs considered clinically safe but without proven use. Therefore, ebselen represents a lithium mimetic with the potential both to validate inositol monophosphatase inhibition as a treatment for bipolar disorder and to serve as a treatment itself.
Lithium-induced thyroid abnormalities have been documented in many studies. They may occur despite normal plasma lithium levels. The objectives of this study were: 1) to determine possible relationship between lithium ratio, defined as erythrocyte lithium concentrations divided by plasma lithium concentrations, and thyroid abnormalities in bipolar patients receiving lithium and 2) to find other possible risk factors for developing thyroid abnormalities in the subjects.
Sixty-eight bipolar patients receiving lithium therapy were enrolled in a cross-sectional evaluation of thyroid function test and thyroid size. Patients were divided into two groups based on their thyroid function tests and thyroid sizes. Erythrocyte and plasma lithium concentrations were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry for each patient. Lithium ratio was then calculated.
No significant differences were found between age, positive family history of affective disorder, plasma lithium concentration, erythrocyte lithium concentration, and lithium ratio comparing the two groups. Thyroid abnormalities was significantly higher in women than in men (p < 0.05).
Lithium ratio does not appear to have a predictive role for thyroidal side effects of lithium therapy. Female gender was the main risk factor. We suggest more frequent thyroid evaluation of bipolar women who are treated with lithium.
Bipolar; goiter; hypothyroidism; lithium; lithium ratio; side effect
Mathematical models are valuable for optimizing drug dose and dosing regimens.
To compare the precision and bias of three a-priori methods in the prediction of serum level of lithium in patients with bipolar disorder, and to determine their sensitivity and specificity in detecting serum lithium levels outside the therapeutic range.
Settings and Design:
Hospital-based, retrospective study.
Materials and Methods:
In a retrospective study of 31 in-patients, the serum level of lithium was calculated using three different a-priori methods. Mean Prediction Error was used as a measure of bias while Mean Absolute Error and Root Mean Squared Error were used as a measure of precision. The sensitivity and specificity of the methods was calculated.
All three models underestimated serum lithium level. Precision was best with the model described by Pepin et al., while bias of prediction was the least with the method of Abou Auda et al. The formula by Pepin et al. was able to predict serum lithium level with a mean error of 36.57%. The sensitivity and specificity of the models in identifying serum lithium levels outside the therapeutic range was 80% and 76.19% for Pepin et al., 90% and 74.19% for Zetin et al., and 90% and 66.67% for Abou-Auda et al., respectively.
The study demonstrates the difference in precision and bias of three a-priori methods, with no one method being superior to the other in the prediction of serum concentration.
Drug level; monitoring; predictive model; serum lithium
The renal lithium clearance of a manic-depressive woman rose when she became pregnant and fell to the prepregnancy level when she gave birth. The lithium clearances of four healthy women were higher during pregnancy than after delivery. This emphasizes the need for frequent determinations of the serum lithium concentration and appropriate dosage adjustments during pregnancy and delivery.
Lithium is used mainly for the treatment of Bipolar Disorder (BD). Case reports and several retrospective studies have demonstrated possible teratogenicity, but the data in different studies is inconclusive. The risk for cardiovascular malformations, particularly Ebstein's anomaly and other congenital abnormalities have been reported.
A 25-year-old gravida 1, para 1 woman at 38 weeks of gestation was admitted for an elective caesarean section. She had a history of BP for which she was treated with lithium 600mg q12h in the first trimester of pregnancy. There was no familial history of birth defects, any antenatal infection or exposure to any other medications, alcohol, smoking, or X-rays. A baby boy (3500g) was born. After 2 to 3 hours respiratory distress clinical picture and chest radiograph suggested diagnosis of congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Repair of his diaphragm was preformed and patient discharged after 12 days.
Lithium probably produces a defect in normal development of the diaphragm and may pose specific risk for an anomaly known as congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).
Diaphragmatic hernia; Lithium carbonate; Pregnancy; Teratogens; Bipolar Disorder
Lithium is the drug of choice for the treatment of bipolar affective disorder. The identification of an in vivo target of lithium in fission yeast as a model organism may help in the understanding of lithium therapy. For this purpose, we have isolated genes whose overexpression improved cell growth under high LiCl concentrations. Overexpression of tol1+, one of the isolated genes, increased the tolerance of wild-type yeast cells for LiCl but not for NaCl. tol1+ encodes a member of the lithium-sensitive phosphomonoesterase protein family, and it exerts dual enzymatic activities, 3′(2′),5′-bisphosphate nucleotidase and inositol polyphosphate 1-phosphatase. tol1+ gene-disrupted cells required high concentrations of sulfite in the medium for growth. Consistently, sulfite repressed the sulfate assimilation pathway in fission yeast. However, tol1+ gene-disrupted cells could not fully recover from their growth defect and abnormal morphology even when the medium was supplemented with sulfite, suggesting the possible implication of inositol polyphosphate 1-phosphatase activity for cell growth and morphology. Given the remarkable functional conservation of the lithium-sensitive dual-specificity phosphomonoesterase between fission yeast and higher-eukaryotic cells during evolution, it may represent a likely in vivo target of lithium action across many species.
Lithium is a commonly used drug for the treatment of bipolar disorder. At high doses, lithium becomes teratogenic, which is a property that has allowed this agent to serve as a useful tool for dissecting molecular pathways that regulate embryogenesis. This study was designed to examine the impact of lithium on heart formation in the developing frog for insights into the molecular regulation of cardiac specification. Embryos were exposed to lithium at the beginning of gastrulation, which produced severe malformations of the anterior end of the embryo. Although previous reports characterized this deformity as a posteriorized phenotype, histological analysis revealed that the defects were more comprehensive, with disfigurement and disorganization of all interior tissues along the anterior-posterior axis. Emerging tissues were poorly segregated and cavity formation was decreased within the embryo. Lithium exposure also completely ablated formation of the heart and prevented myocardial cell differentiation. Despite the complete absence of cardiac tissue in lithium treated embryos, exposure to lithium did not prevent myocardial differentiation of precardiac DMZ explants. Moreover, precardiac tissue freed from the embryo subsequent to lithium treatment at gastrulation gave rise to cardiac tissue, as demonstrated by upregulation of cardiac gene expression, display of sarcomeric proteins, and formation of a contractile phenotype. Together these data indicate that lithium’s effect on the developing heart was not due to direct regulation of cardiac differentiation, but an indirect consequence of disrupted tissue organization within the embryo.
lithium; Wnt; heart development; myocardium; precardiac mesoderm; Xenopus
Lithium is an integral drug used in the management of acute mania, unipolar and bipolar depression and prophylaxis of bipolar disorders. Thyroid abnormalities associated with treatment with lithium have been widely reported in medical literature to date. These include goitre, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and autoimmune thyroiditis. This current review explores the varied thyroid abnormalities frequently encountered among patients on lithium therapy and their management, since lithium is still a fundamental and widely drug used in psychiatry and Internal Medicine.
PubMed database and Google scholar were used to search for relevant English language articles relating to lithium therapy and thyroid abnormalities up to December 2012. The search terms used were lithium treatment, thyroid abnormalities, thyroid dysfunction, goitre, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyrotoxicosis, autoimmune thyroiditis, lithium toxicity, treatment of affective disorders and depression and side effects of antipsychotic drugs. Reference lists of the identified articles were further used to identify other studies.
Lithium affects normal thyroid functioning through multiple mechanisms. At the cellular level, it decreases thyroid hormone synthesis and release. It also decreases peripheral deiodination of tetraiodothyronine (T4) or thyroxine by decreasing the activity of type I 5’ de-iodinase enzyme. Hypothyroidism and goitre (clinically and/ultrasonographically detected) are the most prevalent thyroid abnormalities among patients on long term lithium therapy. Lithium induced hyperthyroidism is very infrequent. Lithium increases the propensity to thyroid autoimmunity in susceptible individuals due to its effect of augmenting the activity of B lymphocytes and reducing the ratio of circulating suppressor to cytotoxic T cells.
Thyroid function tests (serum thyroid stimulating hormone, free thyroid hormones-T4 and triiodothyronine [T3] concentrations and thyroid auto-antibodies) and assessment of thyroid size clinically and by thyroid ultrasonography ought to be performed among patients initiating lithium therapy at baseline and later annually. More frequent assessment of thyroid function status and size during the course of therapy is recommended among middle aged females (≥50 years), patients with a family history of thyroid disease and those positive for thyroid auto-antibodies (anti-thyroid peroxidase and TSH receptor antibodies).
Lithium therapy; Thyroid abnormalities; Goitre; Hypothyroidism; Hyperthyroidism; Thyroid autoimmunity
A pregnant patient taking lithium for bipolar depression is clinically
uncontrolled despite a high dose. She insists that she is taking the
medication. Her lithium serum levels have fallen from 1 mEq/L to 0.6 mEq/L.
What is the reason for this change?
Lithium is eliminated by the kidney. In late pregnancy the glomerular
filtration rate increases substantially and hence elimination of the drug
can almost double. Liver biotransformation pathways might also increase the
rate of elimination of various drugs, causing lower levels and, potentially,
Atypical antipsychotics have become a widely utilized component of the bipolar disorder treatment armamentarium, with approximately 45% of bipolar patients prescribed atypicals. Over the last decade all atypical drugs except for clozapine have received a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bipolar indication. In October 2008, the FDA approved quetiapine XR monotherapy for the treatment of acute depressive episodes of bipolar disorder and acute manic or mixed episodes in bipolar I disorder based on two placebo-control trials. Quetiapine was also approved as adjunct therapy with lithium and divalproex for the treatment of acute manic or mixed episodes as well as maintenance of bipolar I disorder. In contrast to immediate release quetiapine which may require a twice-daily regimen, the XR formulation is intended for once-daily administration. This drug profile of quetiapine XR will address chemistry, pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, metabolism, safety and tolerability and clinical trials in bipolar disorder.
quetiapine XR; bipolar disorder
Although traumatic brain injury (TBI) is recognized as one of the leading causes of death from trauma to the central nervous system (CNS), no known treatment effectively mitigates its effects. Lithium, a primary drug for the treatment of bipolar disorder, has been known to have neuroprotective effects in various neurodegenerative conditions such as stroke. Until this study, however, it has not been investigated as a post-insult treatment for TBI. To evaluate whether lithium could have beneficial effects following TBI, lithium at a dose of 1.5 mEq/kg was administered after injury. Assessed at 3 days and 3 weeks post-injury using hematoxylin and eosin staining, lithium treatment was found to reduce lesion volume. Lithium at doses of 2.0 and 3.0 mEq/kg also significantly reduced lesion volume at 3 days after injury, and the therapeutic window was at least 3 h post-injury. TBI-induced neuronal death, microglial activation, and cyclooxygenase-2 induction were all attenuated by lithium at 3 days after injury. In addition, lithium treatment reduced TBI-induced matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression and preserved the integrity of the blood–brain barrier. As for behavioral outcomes, lithium treatment reduced anxiety-like behavior in an open-field test, and improved short- and long-term motor coordination in rotarod and beam-walk tests. Lithium robustly increased serine phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), suggesting that the underlying mechanisms responsible for lithium's protective effects are triggered by increasing phosphorylation of this kinase and thereby inhibiting its activity. Our results support the notion that lithium has heretofore unrecognized capacity to mitigate the neurodegenerative effects and improve functional outcomes in TBI.
GSK-3β; lithium; neuroinflammation; neuroprotection; traumatic brain injury
Therapies targeting glioma cells that diffusely infiltrate normal brain are highly sought after. Our aim was to identify novel approaches to this problem using glioma spheroid migration assays. Lithium, a currently approved drug for the treatment of bipolar illnesses, has not been previously examined in the context of glioma migration. We found that lithium treatment potently blocked glioma cell migration in spheroid, wound-healing, and brain slice assays. The effects observed were dose dependent and reversible, and worked using every glioma cell line tested. In addition, there was little effect on cell viability at lithium concentrations that inhibit migration, showing that this is a specific effect. Lithium treatment was associated with a marked change in cell morphology, with cells retracting the long extensions at their leading edge. Examination of known targets of lithium showed that inositol monophosphatase inhibition had no effect on glioma migration, whereas inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) did. This suggested that the effects of lithium on glioma cell migration could possibly be mediated through GSK-3. Specific pharmacologic GSK-3 inhibitors and siRNA knockdown of GSK-3α or GSK-3β isoforms both reduced cell motility. These data outline previously unidentified pathways and inhibitors that may be useful for the development of novel anti-invasive therapeutics for the treatment of brain tumors.
glioma; GSK-3; invasion; lithium; motility
Based on extensive preclinical data, glycogen synthase kinase–3 (GSK-3) has been proposed to be a viable drug target for a wide variety of disease states, ranging from diabetes to bipolar disorder. Since these new drugs, which will be more powerful GSK-3 inhibitors than lithium, may potentially be given to women of childbearing potential, and since it has controversially been suggested that lithium therapy might be linked to congenital cardiac defects, we asked whether GSK-3 family members are required for normal heart development in mice. We report that terminal cardiomyocyte differentiation was substantially blunted in Gsk3b–/– embryoid bodies. While GSK-3α–deficient mice were born without a cardiac phenotype, no live-born Gsk3b–/– pups were recovered. The Gsk3b–/– embryos had a double outlet RV, ventricular septal defects, and hypertrophic myopathy, with near obliteration of the ventricular cavities. The hypertrophic myopathy was caused by cardiomyocyte hyperproliferation without hypertrophy and was associated with increased expression and nuclear localization of three regulators of proliferation — GATA4, cyclin D1, and c-Myc. These studies, which we believe are the first in mammals to examine the role of GSK-3α and GSK-3β in the heart using loss-of-function approaches, implicate GSK-3β as a central regulator of embryonic cardiomyocyte proliferation and differentiation, as well as of outflow tract development. Although controversy over the teratogenic effects of lithium remains, our studies suggest that caution should be exercised in the use of newer, more potent drugs targeting GSK-3 in women of childbearing age.
Lithium is the first-line treatment for bipolar disorder. In the past, genetic studies have attempted to identify factors associated with positive treatment response or side effects. Several research groups have shown that familial factors, family history of primary bipolar disorder, and negative family history of schizophrenia in particular, correlate well with prophylactic lithium response. Conversely, studies of lithium responsive patients and their families can assist genetic research of bipolar disorder. Lithium responders appear to suffer from a form of bipolar disorder that is more genetically based and more homogeneous. In a series of family studies, the author and his colleagues have confirmed the differences in family histories of lithium responders and nonresponders and shown that the mode of inheritance in lithium responders is compatible with a major-gene model. Subsequently, they initiated an international collaborative study to map the gene(s) predisposing to the illness or treatment response, or both, using both linkage and association strategies. To date, a sample of 32 families, 138 unrelated patients and 163 control subjects has been studied. In these studies, they found support for the role of phospholipase C in lithium responsive bipolar disorder.
The primary cilium is a non-motile microtubule-based structure that shares many similarities with the structures of flagella and motile cilia. It is well known that the length of flagella is under stringent control, but it is not known whether this is true for primary cilia. In this study, we found that the length of primary cilia in fibroblast-like synoviocytes, either in log phase culture or in quiescent state, was confined within a range. However, when lithium was added to the culture to a final concentration of 100 mM, primary cilia of synoviocytes grew beyond this range, elongating to a length that was on average approximately 3 times the length of untreated cilia. Lithium is a drug approved for treating bipolar disorder. We dissected the molecular targets of this drug, and observed that inhibition of adenylate cyclase III (ACIII) by specific inhibitors mimicked the effects of lithium on primary cilium elongation. Inhibition of GSK-3β by four different inhibitors did not induce primary cilia elongation. ACIII was found in primary cilia of a variety of cell types, and lithium treatment of these cell types led to their cilium elongation. Further, we demonstrate that different cell types displayed distinct sensitivities to the lithium treatment. However, in all cases examined primary cilia elongated as a result of lithium treatment. In particular, two neuronal cell types, rat PC-12 adrenal medulla cells and human astrocytes, developed long primary cilia when lithium was used at or close to the therapeutic relevant concentration (1–2 mM). These results suggest that the length of primary cilia is controlled, at least in part, by the ACIII-cAMP signaling pathway.
PMID: 19576885 CAMSID: cams1837
lithium; microtubules; PKC; ciliar length; synoviocytes; PC12 cells; astrocytes; bipolar disorder
Lithium is widely used to treat bipolar disorder, but its mechanism of action in this disorder is unknown. Lithium directly inhibits glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3), a critical regulator of multiple signal transduction pathways. Inhibition of GSK3 provides a compelling explanation for many of the known effects of lithium, including effects on early development and insulin signaling/glycogen synthesis. However, lithium also inhibits inositol monophosphatase, several structurally related phosphomonoesterases, phosphoglucomutase, and the scaffolding function of ß-arrestin-2. It is not known which of these targets is responsible for the behavioral or therapeutic effects of lithium in vivo. This review discusses basic criteria that can be applied to model systems to validate a proposed direct target of lithium. In this context, we describe a set of simple behaviors in mice that are robustly affected by chronic lithium and are similarly affected by structurally diverse GSK3 inhibitors and by removing one copy of the Gsk3ß gene. These observations, from several independent laboratories, support a central role for GSK3 in mediating behavioral responses to lithium.
Lithium; Bipolar disorder; glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3); Wnt; inositol; behavior
Poor adherence to lithium is very common in bipolar patients and it is a frequent cause of recurrence during prophylactic treatment. Several reports suggest that attitudes of bipolar patients interfere with adherence to lithium. The Lithium Attitudes Questionnaire (LAQ) is a brief questionnaire developed as a means of identifying and grouping the problems patients commonly have with taking lithium regularly. The original version is validated in patients, but a validated version in Portuguese is not yet available.
One-hundred six patients with bipolar disorder (DSM-IV criteria) criteria under lithium treatment for at least one month were assessed using LAQ. LAQ is a brief questionnaire administered under interview conditions, which includes 19 items rating attitudes towards prophylactic lithium treatment. We analysed the internal consistency, concurrent validity, sensitivity and specificity of the Portuguese version of LAQ.
The internal consistency, evaluated by Cronbach's alpha was 0.78. The mean total LAQ score was 4.1. Concurrent validity was confirmed by a negative correlation between plasma lithium concentration and total LAQ score (r = -0,198; p = 0.048). We analysed the scale's discriminative capacity revealing a sensitivity of 69% and a specificity of 71% in the identification of negative attitudes of bipolar patients.
The psychometric assessment of the Portuguese version of LAQ showed good internal consistency, sensitivity and specificity. The results were similar to the original version in relation to attitudes of bipolar patients towards lithium therapy.
OBJECTIVE: To raise awareness of risk factors for, and symptoms of, lithium intoxication. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: The literature was searched via MEDLINE from January 1970 to December 1999 using the MeSH headings Lithium, Lithium Carbonate, Drug Toxicity, and Aging. Articles were selected based on clinical relevance and design. Most were case reports, case series, or reviews. MAIN MESSAGE: A case study illustrates both risk factors predisposing patients to lithium intoxication and the symptoms of lithium intoxication. Lithium intoxication can be avoided by conservative dosing, care in combining drug therapies, regular clinical observation, monitoring drug plasma concentrations, and educating patients and caregivers to recognize early signs of intoxication. CONCLUSION: Knowing about lithium intoxication and how to avoid it is most important for family physicians who regularly treat patients receiving lithium.
Lithium is the first-line therapy for bipolar disorder. However, its therapeutic target remains controversial. Candidates include inositol monophosphatases, glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3), and a β-arrestin-2/AKT/protein phosphatase 2A (β-arrestin-2/AKT/PP2A) complex that is known to be required for lithium-sensitive behaviors. Defining the direct target(s) is critical for the development of new therapies and for elucidating the molecular pathogenesis of this major psychiatric disorder. Here, we show what we believe to be a new link between GSK-3 and the β-arrestin-2 complex in mice and propose an integrated mechanism that accounts for the effects of lithium on multiple behaviors. GSK-3β (Gsk3b) overexpression reversed behavioral defects observed in lithium-treated mice and similar behaviors observed in Gsk3b+/– mice. Furthermore, immunoprecipitation of striatial tissue from WT mice revealed that lithium disrupted the β-arrestin-2/Akt/PP2A complex by directly inhibiting GSK-3. GSK-3 inhibitors or loss of one copy of the Gsk3b gene reduced β-arrestin-2/Akt/PP2A complex formation in mice, while overexpression of Gsk3b restored complex formation in lithium-treated mice. Thus, GSK-3 regulates the stability of the β-arrestin-2/Akt/PP2A complex, and lithium disrupts the complex through direct inhibition of GSK-3. We believe these findings reveal a new role for GSK-3 within the β-arrestin complex and demonstrate that GSK-3 is a critical target of lithium in mammalian behaviors.
Lithium is a benchmark treatment for bipolar illness in adults. However, there has been relatively little methodologically stringent research regarding the use of lithium in youth suffering from bipolarity.
Under the auspices of the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (BPCA), a Written Request (WR) pertaining to the study of lithium in pediatric mania was issued by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) in 2004. Accordingly, the NICHD issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) soliciting submissions to pursue this research. Subsequently, the NICHD awarded a contract to a group of investigators in order to conduct these studies.
The Collaborative Lithium Trials (CoLT) investigators, the BPCA-Coordinating Center, and the NICHD developed protocols to provide data that will: (1) establish evidence-based dosing strategies for lithium; (2) characterize the pharmacokinetics and biodisposition of lithium; (3) examine the acute efficacy of lithium in pediatric bipolarity; (4) investigate the long-term effectiveness of lithium treatment; and (5) characterize the short- and long-term safety of lithium. By undertaking two multi-phase trials rather than multiple single-phase studies (as was described in the WR), the feasibility of the research to be undertaken was enhanced while ensuring all the data outlined in the WR would be obtained. The first study consists of: (1) an 8-week open-label, randomized, escalating dose Pharmacokinetic Phase; (2) a 16-week Long-Term Effectiveness Phase; (3) a 28-week double-blind Discontinuation Phase; and (4) an 8-week open-label Restabilization Phase. The second study consists of: (1) an 8-week, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled Efficacy Phase; (2) an open-label Long-Term Effectiveness lasting either 16 or 24 weeks (depending upon blinded treatment assignment during the Efficacy Phase); (3) a 28-week double-blind Discontinuation Phase; and (4) an 8-week open-label Restabilization Phase. In December of 2006, enrollment into the first of these studies began across seven sites.
These innovative studies will not only provide data to inform the labeling of lithium in children and adolescents with bipolar disorder, but will also enhance clinical decision-making regarding the use of lithium treatment in pediatric bipolar illness.
The mechanism of lithium-induced diabetes insipidus was investigated in 96 patients and in a rat model. Polydipsia was reported by 40% and polyuria (more than 3 liter/day) by 12% of patients receiving lithium. Maximum concentrating ability after dehydration and vasopressin was markedly impaired in 10 polyuric patients and was reduced in 7 of 10 nonpolyuric patients studied before and during lithium therapy. Severe polyuria (more than 6 liter/day) was unresponsive to trials of vasopressin and chlorpropamide, but improved on chlorothiazide. Rats receiving lithium (3-4 meq/kg/day) developed massive polyuria that was resistant to vasopressin, in comparison to rats with comparable polyuria induced by drinking glucose. Analysis of renal tissue in rats with lithium polyuria showed progressive increase in the concentration of lithium from cortex to papilla with a 2.9-fold corticopapillary gradient for lithium. The normal corticopapillary gradient for sodium was not reduced by lithium treatment. The polyuria was not interrupted by brief intravenous doses of vasopressin (5-10 mU/kg) or dibutyryl cyclic AMP (10-15 mg/kg) capable of reversing water diuresis in normal and hypothalamic diabetes insipidus rats (Brattleboro strain). The present studies suggest that nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is a common finding after lithium treatment and results in part from interference with the mediation of vasopressin at a step distal to the formation of 3′,5′ cyclic AMP.
Bipolar disorder (BP) is a debilitating psychiatric disorder, affecting ∼2% of the worldwide population, for which the etiological basis, pathogenesis, and neurocircuitry remain poorly understood. Individuals with BP suffer from recurrent episodes of mania and depression, which are commonly treated with the mood stabilizer lithium. However, nearly half of BP patients do not respond adequately to lithium therapy and the clinically relevant mechanisms of lithium for mood stabilization remain elusive. Here, we modeled lithium responsiveness using cellular assays of glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3) signaling and mood-related behavioral assays in inbred strains of mice that differ in their response to lithium. We found that activating AKT through phosphosrylation of a key regulatory site (Thr308) was associated with lithium response—activation of signaling pathways downstream of GSK-3 in cells and attenuation of mood-related behaviors in mice—and this response was attenuated by selective and direct inhibition of AKT kinase activity. Conversely, the expression of constitutively active AKT1 in both the cellular and behavioral assays conferred lithium sensitivity. In contrast, selective and direct GSK-3 inhibition by the ATP-competitive inhibitor CHIR99021 bypassed the requirement for AKT activation and modulated behavior in both lithium-responsive and non-responsive mouse strains. These results distinguish the mechanism of action of lithium from direct GSK-3 inhibition both in vivo and in vitro, and highlight the therapeutic potential for selective GSK-3 inhibitors in BP treatment.
lithium; AKT; mania; depression; TCF/LEF; behavior; AKT; animal models; lithium; mood/anxiety/stress disorders; mood-related behavior; neuropharmacology; psychiatry and behavioral sciences; TCF/LEF response
Lithium is a commonly prescribed drug with a narrow therapeutic index, and recognised adverse effects on the kidneys and thyroid. Clinical guidelines for the management of bipolar affective disorder published by The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend checks of renal and thyroid function before lithium is prescribed. They further recommend that all patients who are prescribed lithium should have their renal and thyroid function checked every six months, and their serum lithium checked every three months. Adherence to these recommendations has not been subject to national UK audit.
The Prescribing Observatory for Mental Health (POMH-UK) invited all National Health Service Mental Health Trusts in the UK to participate in a benchmarking audit of lithium monitoring against recommended standards. Data were collected retrospectively from clinical records and submitted electronically.
436 clinical teams from 38 Trusts submitted data for 3,373 patients. In patients recently starting lithium, there was a documented baseline measure of renal or thyroid function in 84% and 82% respectively. For patients prescribed lithium for a year or more, the NICE standards for monitoring lithium serum levels, and renal and thyroid function were met in 30%, 55% and 50% of cases respectively.
The quality of lithium monitoring in patients who are in contact with mental health services falls short of recognised standards and targets. Findings from this audit, along with reports of harm received by the National Patient Safety Agency, prompted a Patient Safety Alert mandating primary care, mental health and acute Trusts, and laboratory staff to work together to ensure systems are in place to support recommended lithium monitoring by December 2010.