New Insights Into Lithium’s Effectiveness for Bipolar Disorder


Summary: A new identifies a specific gene that regulates neural progenitor cell proliferation in response to lithium for those with bipolar depression.

Source: Elsevier

Bipolar disorder, a neuropsychiatric condition that includes manic and depressive episodes, affects about 1% of the population and is strongly influenced by genetics.

About half of patients respond very well to lithium salts as a therapy, and treatment responsiveness also depends on genetics.

Researchers still have little idea of how lithium works to stabilize mood, but, similar to other anti-depressants, it stimulates proliferation of adult neural progenitor cells (NPC), perhaps leading to the birth of new neurons.

Now, a new study identifies a specific gene that seems to regulate NPC proliferation in response to lithium.

The study, led by Jason Stein, PhD, at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, appears in Biological Psychiatrypublished by Elsevier.