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J Psychiatr Res. 2014 Aug;55:96-100. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.03.023. Epub 2014 Apr 12.

Lithium increases nitric oxide levels in subjects with bipolar disorder during depressive episodes.

Author information

  • 1Laboratory of Neuroscience, LIM-27, Department and Institute of Psychiatry, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • 2Laboratory of Neuroscience, LIM-27, Department and Institute of Psychiatry, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Applied Neurosciences (NAPNA), University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Laboratory of Psychiatric Neuroimaging, LIM-21, Department and Institute of Psychiatry, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • 3Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Applied Neurosciences (NAPNA), University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Laboratory of Psychiatric Neuroimaging, LIM-21, Department and Institute of Psychiatry, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • 4Department of Medicine, Nephrology Division, UNIFESP/Escola Paulista de Medicina, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • 5Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch (ETPB), National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA.
  • 6Laboratory of Neuroscience, LIM-27, Department and Institute of Psychiatry, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Applied Neurosciences (NAPNA), University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • 7Laboratory of Neuroscience, LIM-27, Department and Institute of Psychiatry, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Applied Neurosciences (NAPNA), University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch (ETPB), National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA. Electronic address: machadovieirar@gmail.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Altered nitric oxide (NO) signaling has been associated with the pathophysiology of Bipolar Disorder (BD), directly affecting neurotransmitter release and synaptic plasticity cascades. Lithium has shown to regulate NO levels in preclinical models. However, no study has addressed peripheral NO levels in unmedicated BD. Also, lithium's effects on NO levels have not been studied in humans.

METHODS:

Plasma NO was evaluated in subjects with BD I and II during a depressive episode (n = 26). Subjects had a score of ≥18 in the 21-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and were followed-up during a 6-week trial with lithium. Plasma NO levels were also compared to matched healthy controls (n = 28). NO was determined by chemiluminescence method.

RESULTS:

Lithium treatment significantly increased plasma NO levels after 6 weeks of treatment in comparison to baseline levels in bipolar depression (p = 0.016). Baseline NO levels during depressive episodes showed no difference when matching up to healthy controls (p = 0.66).

CONCLUSION:

The present findings suggest that lithium upregulates NO signaling in unmedicated BD with short illness duration. Further studies with larger samples are needed to confirm the effects of lithium on NO pathway and its association with synaptic plasticity and therapeutics of BD.

Published by Elsevier Ltd.

KEYWORDS:

Bipolar disorder; Depression; Lithium; Nitric oxide; Plasticity; Treatment

PMID:
24768108
[PubMed - in process]
PMCID:
PMC4084566
[Available on 2015/8/1]
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