.Augmentation of lithium's behavioral effect by inositol uptake inhibitors Academic Article uri icon


  • Lithium inhibits the enzyme inositol monophosphatase and thus obstructs the enzymatic degradation of inositol triphosphate (IP3) to inositol in the phosphate-phosphoinositide (PIP) cycle. This inhibition may result in reduced availability of the second messengers IP3 and DAG that are derivates of the PIP cycle, and this action is currently a leading hypothesis regarding lithium's therapeutic and prophylactic effect in affective disorders. Inositol is also available to the cell by uptake from the intercellular matrix, and therefore it is possible that compounds that block the uptake may have lithium-like effects. To test this hypothesis, the present study evaluates the effects of two inositol uptake inhibitors, the carbohydrate L-fucose and the cyclodepsipeptide nordidemnin, in a behavioral model of pilocarpine-induced seizures known to be enhanced by lithium. We tested the possibility that L-fucose produces lithium-like effects, or that L-fucose or nordidemnin augment lithium's behavioral effects. Results indicate that acute ICV treatment with L-fucose did not by itself have a lithium-like effect in the behavioral model, but significantly augmented lithium's effect when combined with lithium treatment. Nordidemnin treatment showed similar effects. The results suggest that when inositol monophosphatase is inhibited by lithium, further restriction of cellular inositol availability may result in an augmentation of lithium's behavioral effects. It is possible that such manipulations may be applicable in the treatment of patients with affective disorders, especially patients who are poor responders to lithium monotherapy.

publication date

  • January 1, 1998