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Brain Res. 2006 Sep 7;1108(1):98-106. Epub 2006 Jul 14.

Lithium-induced activation of Akt and CaM kinase II contributes to its neuroprotective action in a rat microsphere embolism model.

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Department of Pharmacology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8578, Japan.


Lithium used in bipolar mood disorder therapy protects neurons from brain ischemic cell death. Here, we documented that lithium administration under microsphere-embolism (ME)-induced brain ischemia restored decreased protein kinase B (Akt) and Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) activities 24 h after ischemia in rat brain. Akt activation was associated with increased phosphorylation of its potential targets forkhead transcription factor (FKHR) and glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta). In parallel with decreased CaMKII autophosphorylation, we also found marked dephosphorylation of tau proteins 24-72 h after ME. Increased protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) activity was found 24 h after ME. Inhibition of increased PP2A activity by lithium treatment apparently mediated restored tau phosphorylation. Taken together, activation of Akt and CaMKII by lithium was associated with neuroprotective activity in ME-induced neuronal injury.

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