Website Search
ID 1986

Lithium and bipolar disorder

Professor James Potash discusses two hypotheses on how lithium, which has been successfully used to treat bipolar disorder for many years, may affect the brain.
Lithium has been around since 1949; it’s the best medicine to use for treating bipolar disorder. It is also potentially a window into how the illness unfolds in the brain. It has been known for about 20 years now that lithium works on the myo-inositol pathway in neurons, and it’s still not entirely clear if that is the main mechanism of action. There is now another hypothesis that lithium may work, in part, through the Wnt signaling pathway. That has lead a number of groups to try to understand better whether those two pathways are key to the illness; our group actually just published a paper this month in the Archives of General Psychiatry showing that Wnt signaling genes may be implicated in bipolar disorder.
lithium, bipolar disorder, wnt signaling pathway, myo-inositol pathway, hypotheses, james potash
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related content:

1985. Living a normal life: bipolar disorder
Professor James Potash explains that most individuals with bipolar disorder lead normal lives and respond well to lithium medication.
1801. GSK3B/A0222
Glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3 beta, also known as GSK3B or A0222, is a proline-directed serine/threonine kinase from the CMGC group and GSK family.
1989. The neuropathology of depression and bipolar disorder
Professor James Potash discusses studies that show reductions in hippocampal volume in people with depression and abnormalities in cingulate areas in patients with bipolar disorder.
1994. Bipolar disorder: managing medications
Professor James Potash explains that, for many bipolar disorder patients, managing medications can be difficult.
2357. Biochemical Treatments for Bipolar Disorder
Doctor Ellen Leibenluft discusses biochemical treatments for biploar disorder, including pescriptions of lithium and Valproate, which target second-messenger systems.
1976. Cyclicity in bipolar disorder
Professor James Potash explains that bipolar disorder is episodic: people get ill, then they get well again and then the illness may come back again at a later date.
1981. Childhood bipolar disorder - brain abnormalities
Professor James Potash discusses the dramatic increase in the rates of diagnosis of childhood bipolar disorder, which has risen forty-fold in recent years.
1980. Endophenotypes for bipolar disorder
Professor James Potash describes how endophenotypes are used to study bipolar disorder. Endophenotypes are essentially subtypes of larger symptoms.
2085. Lithium: how it might protect the brain
Professor Wayne Drevets discusses ways in which lithium may affect bipolar disorder. It affects multiple neurotransmitter systems and may protect brain structures that are atrophied in bipolar disorder.
1979. Linkage and association studies
Professor James Potash describes the difference between linkage and association studies, which are two ways of locating candidate genes. These are discussed in reference to bipolar disorder,
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
CSHL HomeAbout CSHLResearchEducationNews & FeaturesCampus & Public EventsCareersGiving