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
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 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
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 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 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 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.
Lithium remains a first-line treatment for bipolar disorder, but the mechanisms by which it prevents the recurrence of mood episodes are not known. The authors utilized data from a genomewide association study to examine associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the outcome of lithium treatment in two cohorts of patients with bipolar I disorder or bipolar II disorder.
The hazard for mood episode recurrence was examined among 1,177 patients with bipolar I disorder or bipolar II disorder, including 458 individuals treated with lithium carbonate or citrate, who were participants in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD) cohort. SNPs showing the greatest evidence of association in Cox regression models were then examined for association with positive lithium response among 359 bipolar I or II disorder patients treated with lithium carbonate or citrate in a second cohort from the University College London.
The strongest association in the STEP-BD cohort (minimum p=5.5× 10−7) was identified for a region on chromosome 10p15 (rs10795189). Of the regions showing suggestive evidence (p<5× 10−4) of association with lithium response, five were further associated with positive lithium response in the University College London cohort, including SNPs in a region on chromosome 4q32 spanning a gene coding for the glutamate/alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolpropionate (AMPA) receptor GRIA2.
Multiple novel loci merit further examination for association with lithium response in bipolar disorder patients, including one region that spans the GRIA2 gene, for which expression has been shown to be regulated by lithium treatment.
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
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
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
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
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 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.
To establish whether lithium or anticonvulsant should be used for maintenance treatment for bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) if the risks of suicide and relapse were traded off against the risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Decision analysis based on a systematic literature review with two main decisions: (1) use of lithium or at treatment initiation and (2) the potential discontinuation of lithium in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) after 20 years of lithium treatment. The final endpoint was 30 years of treatment with five outcomes to consider: death from suicide, alive with stable or unstable BPAD, alive with or without ESRD.
At the start of treatment, the model identified lithium as the treatment of choice. The risks of developing CKD or ESRD were not relevant at the starting point. Twenty years into treatment, lithium still remained treatment of choice. If CKD had occurred at this point, stopping lithium would only be an option if the likelihood of progression to ESRD exceeded 41.3% or if anticonvulsants always outperformed lithium regarding relapse prevention.
At the current state of knowledge, lithium initiation and continuation even in the presence of long-term adverse renal effects should be recommended in most cases.
bipolar disorder; decision analysis; end-stage renal disease; lithium; suicide
Lithium is an efficacious drug for the treatment of mood disorders, and its application is also considered a potential therapy for brain damage. However, the mechanisms underlying lithium’s therapeutic action and toxic effects in the nervous system remain largely elusive. Here we report on the use of a versatile genetic model, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, to discover novel molecular components involved in the lithium-responsive neurobiological process. We previously identified CG15088, which encodes a putative nutrient amino acid transporter of the solute carrier 6 (SLC6) family, as one of the genes most significantly up-regulated in response to lithium treatment. This gene was the only SLC6 gene induced by lithium, and was thus designated as Lithium-inducible SLC6 transporter or List. Either RNAi-mediated knockdown or complete deletion of List resulted in a remarkable increase in the susceptibility of adult flies to lithium’s toxic effects, whereas transgenic expression of wild-type List significantly suppressed the lithium hypersensitive phenotype of List-deficient flies. Other ions such as sodium, potassium and chloride did not induce List up-regulation, nor did they affect the viability of flies with suppressed List expression. These results indicate that lithium’s biochemical or physical properties, rather than general osmotic responses, are responsible for the lithium-induced up-regulation of List, as well as for the lithium-susceptible phenotype observed in List knockdown flies. Interestingly, flies became significantly more susceptible to lithium toxicity when List RNAi was specifically expressed in glia than when it was expressed in neurons or muscles, which is consistent with potential glial expression of List. These results show that the List transporter confers resistance to lithium toxicity, possibly as a consequence of its amino acid transporter activity in CNS glia. Our results have provided a new avenue of investigation toward a better understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie lithium-responsive neurobiological process.
sodium neurotransmitter symporter family; GAL4/UAS system; RNA interference; glia
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,
To determine how much patients know about lithium therapy and to examine factors that might influence this knowledge.
Lithium outpatient clinic.
Patients (n = 123) affiliated with a lithium outpatient clinic (mean treatment duration of 12 years). Diagnoses, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd edition, revised, included bipolar disorder, recurrent unipolar depression and schizoaffective disorder.
Quantitative assessment of lithium-related knowledge, obtained by responses to a questionnaire adapted from the Lithium Knowledge Test, and factors affecting this knowledge.
Age was negatively correlated with lithium therapy knowledge scores, whereas duration of treatment, sex, education and diagnosis appeared to be unrelated to knowledge.
Patient education about lithium treatment should be intensified, especially for older patients taking lithium because adverse drug reactions pose a greater risk to the elderly.
drug therapy; lithium; mood disorders; patient education
For nearly as long as lithium has been in clinical use for the treatment of bipolar disorder, depression, and other conditions, investigators have attempted to characterize its effects on behaviors in rodents. Lithium consistently decreases exploratory activity, rearing, aggression, and amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion; and it increases the sensitivity to pilocarpine-induced seizures, decreases immobility time in the forced swim test, and attenuates reserpine-induced hypolocomotion. Lithium also predictably induces conditioned taste aversion and alterations in circadian rhythms. The modulation of stereotypy, sensitization, and reward behavior are less consistent actions of the drug. These behavioral models may be relevant to human symptoms and to clinical endophenotypes. It is likely that the actions of lithium in a subset of these animal models are related to the therapeutic efficacy, as well the side effects, of the drug. We conclude with a brief discussion of various molecular mechanisms by which these lithium-sensitive behaviors may be mediated, and comment on the ways in which rat and mouse models can be used more effectively in the future to address persistent questions about the therapeutically relevant molecular actions of lithium.
mood stabilizer; antidepressant; animal model; endophenotype; bipolar disorder; manic-depressive illness; mania; depression; rat; mouse
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, a widely used treatment for bipolar affective disorders, often causes nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. The effect of chronic lithium therapy on the expression of the vasopressin-regulated water channel Aquaporin-2 (AQP2) in rat kidney was examined. Membranes were prepared from inner medulla of one kidney from each rat, while the contralateral one was fixed for immunofluorescence and immunoelectronmicroscopy. Immunoblotting revealed that lithium treatment reduced AQP2 expression dramatically, to 31 +/- 8% after 10 d and to 4 +/- 1% after 25 d, coincident with development of severe polyuria. Immunofluorescence and immunogold quantitation confirmed the lithium-induced decrease in AQP2 expression (from 11.2 +/- 1.0 to 1.1 +/- 0.2 particles/microns 2). The downregulation was only partly reversed by return to lithium-free diet for 1 wk (40 +/- 8% of control). Furthermore, immunoblotting and immunogold quantitation revealed that 2 d of thirsting or 7 d of dDAVP treatment, in the continued presence of lithium, increased AQP2 expression by six- and threefold, respectively, coincident with increased urinary osmolality. Thirsting increased AQP2 immunolabeling mainly of vesicles, whereas dDAVP caused accumulation of AQP2 predominantly in the subapical region and plasma membrane. Thus, lithium causes marked downregulation of AQP2 expression, only partially reversed by cessation of therapy, thirsting or dDAVP treatment, consistent with clinical observations of slow recovery from lithium-induced urinary concentrating defects.
Patient: Female, 72
Final Diagnosis: Renal cell carcinoma
Clinical Procedure: —
Challenging differential diagnosis
Lithium salts are widely used in the treatment of affective disorders of the bipolar type. Lithium is a nephrotoxic substance which can cause both acute and chronic renal disease, including cyst formation. Cysts appear to predispose the kidney to renal cell carcinoma.
A case of renal cell carcinoma in a background of acquired cystic disease due to chronic lithium toxicity is described.
Kidneys with multiple cysts are at risk of renal cell carcinoma. Although it is difficult to determine if long term Lithium use renal cell carcinoma, patients leads to the development of on long-term lithium therapy should undergo regular renal function and imaging tests.
Lithium and NSAID; renal cysts; renal cell carcinoma
Lithium has a significant impact in reducing the symptoms of bipolar mania but in long periods of use with therapeutic doses can cause several disorders in various organs including the reproductive system. In this study, the effect of lithium on the sperm concentration and motility and forms of abnormal cells has been examined.
Materials and Methods:
Male Wistar rats under the 48-day treatment with lithium carbonate at doses of 10, 20, and 30 mg/kg bw/day were kept in standard conditions. At the end of this period, sperm cells isolated from the cauda epididymis were counted, motility was estimated, and stained with smear papanicolaou stain.
In lithium-treated groups, the rate of spermatogenesis and sperm quality were reduced and was seen in a dose-dependent manner.
Lithium alters intracellular signaling pathways such as inositol phosphate metabolic cycle and cyclic adenosine mono phosphate (cAMP) system and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis. It also interferes in the division of sex cells to produce mature sperm and showed changes in the sperm cell membrane, function, and structure.
Lithium carbonate; morphology; motility; sperm concentration