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Mol Psychiatry. 2005 Jan;10(1):117-26.

Lithium and bipolar mood disorder: the inositol-depletion hypothesis revisited.

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MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology, Department of Biology, University College London, London, UK.


Inositol, a simple six-carbon sugar, forms the basis of a number of important intracellular signaling molecules. Over the last 35 years, a series of biochemical and cell biological experiments have shown that lithium (Li(+)) reduces the cellular concentration of myo-inositol and as a consequence attenuates signaling within the cell. Based on these observations, inositol-depletion was proposed as a therapeutic mechanism in the treatment of bipolar mood disorder. Recent results have added significant new dimensions to the original hypothesis. However, despite a number of clinical studies, this hypothesis still remains to be either proven or refuted. In this review of our current knowledge, I will consider where the inositol-depletion hypothesis stands today and how it may be further investigated in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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