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Neuropharmacology. 2009 Sep;57(3):311-21. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2009.05.006. Epub 2009 May 30.

Chronic lithium treatment up-regulates cell surface Na(V)1.7 sodium channels via inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3 in adrenal chromaffin cells: enhancement of Na(+) influx, Ca(2+) influx and catecholamine secretion after lithium withdrawal.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Miyazaki Medical College, University of Miyazaki, Kiyotake, Miyazaki 889-1692, Japan. yanagita@med.miyazaki-u.ac.jp


In cultured bovine adrenal chromaffin cells expressing Na(V)1.7 isoform of voltage-dependent Na(+) channels, we have previously reported that lithium chloride (LiCl) inhibits function of Na(+) channels independent of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) (Yanagita et al., 2007). Here, we further examined the effects of chronic lithium treatment on Na(+) channels. LiCl treatment (1-30 mM, > or = 12 h) increased cell surface [(3)H]saxitoxin ([(3)H]STX) binding by approximately 32% without altering the affinity of [(3)H]STX binding. This increase was prevented by cycloheximide and actinomycin D. SB216763 and SB415286 (GSK-3 inhibitors) also increased cell surface [(3)H]STX binding by approximately 31%. Simultaneous treatment with LiCl and SB216763 or SB415286 did not produce an increased effect on [(3)H]STX binding compared with either treatment alone. LiCl increased Na(+) channel alpha-subunit mRNA level by 32% at 24 h. LiCl accelerated alpha-subunit gene transcription by 35% without altering alpha-subunit mRNA stability. In LiCl-treated cells, LiCl inhibited veratridine-induced (22)Na(+) influx as in untreated cells. However, washout of LiCl after chronic treatment enhanced veratridine-induced (22)Na(+) influx, (45)Ca(2+) influx and catecholamine secretion by approximately 30%. Washout of LiCl after 24 h treatment shifted concentration-response curve of veratridine upon (22)Na(+) influx upward, without altering its EC(50) value. Ptychodiscus brevis toxin-3 allosterically enhanced veratridine-induced (22)Na(+) influx by two-fold in untreated and LiCl-treated cells. Whole-cell patch-clamp analysis indicated that I-V curve and steady-state inactivation/activation curves were comparable between untreated and LiCl-treated cells. Thus, GSK-3 inhibition by LiCl up-regulated cell surface Na(V)1.7 via acceleration of alpha-subunit gene transcription, enhancing veratridine-induced Na(+) influx, Ca(2+) influx and catecholamine secretion.

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