Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biochem Soc Trans. 2004 Nov;32(Pt 5):799-802.

A molecular cell biology of lithium.

Author information

  • 1MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology and Department of Biology, University College London, Gower St, London WC1E 6BT, UK.


Lithium (Li(+)), a mood stabilizer, has profound effects on cultured neurons, offering an opportunity to investigate its cellular biological effects. Here we consider the effect of Li(+) and other psychotropic drugs on growth cone morphology and chemotaxis. Li(+) inhibits GSK-3 (glycogen synthase kinase-3) at a therapeutically relevant concentration. Treated cells show a number of features that arise due to GSK-3 inhibition, such as altered microtubule dynamics, axonal branching and loss of semaphorin 3A-mediated growth cone collapse. Li(+) also causes growth cones to spread; however, a similar effect is seen with two other mood stabilizers, valproic acid and carbamazepine, but without changes in microtubules or axon branching. This common effect of mood stabilizers is mediated by changes in inositol phosphate signalling, not GSK-3 activity. Given the presence of neurogenesis in the adult brain, we speculate that changes in growth cone behaviour could also occur during treatment of mental disorders.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Portland Press
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk