Lithium is an effective treatment for mood disorders and has neuroprotective effects, which may contribute to its therapeutic properties
...chronic lithium treatment increases the volume of gray matter and the content of N-acetyl-aspartate, a cell survival marker, in bipolar mood disorder patients (Moore et al., 2000). Moreover, treatment with this mood-stabilizer suppresses the decrease in the volume of the subgenual pre-frontal cortex found in bipolar patients (Drevets, 2001).
Taken together, our results provide a new insight into the molecular mechanisms involved in lithium neuroprotection against glutamate excitotoxicity. Moreover, these novel molecular and cellular actions might contribute to the neurotrophic and neuroprotective actions of this mood-stabilizer in patients, and could be related to its clinical efficacy for treating mood disorder patients. Clearly, mood-stabilizers may have expanded use for treating excitotoxin-related neurodegenerative diseases.
Myelin, oligodendrocytes and neurons are lost due to the release by immune cells of cytotoxic cytokines, autoantibodies and toxic amounts of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate.
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