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Transl Psychiatry. 2014 Jan 21;4:e350. doi: 10.1038/tp.2013.119.

Glia and immune cell signaling in bipolar disorder: insights from neuropharmacology and molecular imaging to clinical application.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
  • 21] Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA [2] Division of Neuroradiology, Department of Radiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Abstract

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a debilitating mental illness characterized by severe fluctuations in mood, sleep, energy and executive functioning. Pharmacological studies of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and the monoamine system have helped us to clinically understand bipolar depression. Mood stabilizers such as lithium and valproic acid, the first-line treatments for bipolar mania and depression, inhibit glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta (GSK-3β) and regulate the Wnt pathway. Recent investigations suggest that microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, provide a physiological link between the serotonin system and the GSK-3β/Wnt pathway through neuroinflammation. We review the pharmacological, translational and brain imaging studies that support a role for microglia in regulating neurotransmitter synthesis and immune cell activation. These investigations provide a model for microglia involvement in the pathophysiology and phenotype of BD that may translate into improved therapies.

PMID:
24448212
PMCID:
PMC3905229
DOI:
10.1038/tp.2013.119
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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