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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Mar 14;367(3):597-602. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.01.004. Epub 2008 Jan 9.

Lithium blocks ethanol-induced modulation of protein kinases in the developing brain.

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Laboratory of Neurobehavior Genetics, The Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA.


Lithium has been shown to be neuroprotective against various insults including ethanol exposure. We previously reported that ethanol-induced apoptotic neurodegeneration in the postnatal day 7 (P7) mice is associated with decreases in phosphorylation levels of Akt, glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta), and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), and alteration in lipid profiles in the brain. Here, P7 mice were injected with ethanol and lithium, and the effects of lithium on ethanol-induced alterations in phosphorylation levels of protein kinases and lipid profiles in the brain were examined. Immunoblot and immunohistochemical analyses showed that lithium significantly blocked ethanol-induced caspase-3 activation and reduction in phosphorylation levels of Akt, GSK-3beta, and AMPK. Further, lithium inhibited accumulation of cholesterol ester (ChE) and N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine (NAPE) triggered by ethanol in the brain. These results suggest that Akt, GSK-3beta, and AMPK are involved in ethanol-induced neurodegeneration and the neuroprotective effects of lithium by modulating both apoptotic and survival pathways.

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