Inositol-Deficient Food Augments a Behavioral Effect of Long-Term Lithium Treatment Mediated by Inositol Monophosphatase Inhibition: An Animal Model With Relevance for Bipolar Disorder

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Lithium treatment in rodents markedly enhances cholinergic agonists such as pilocarpine. This effect can be reversed in a stereospecific manner by administration of inositol, suggesting that the effect of lithium is caused by inositol monophosphatase inhibition and consequent inositol depletion. If so, inositol-deficient food would be expected to enhance lithium effects. Inositol-deficient food was prepared from inositol-free ingredients. Mice with a homozygote knockout of the inositol monophosphatase 1 gene unable to synthesize inositol endogenously and mimicking lithium-treated animals were fed this diet or a control diet. Lithium-treated wild-type animals were also treated with the inositol-deficient diet or control diet. Pilocarpine was administered after 1 week of treatment, and behavior including seizures was assessed using rating scale. Inositol-deficient food–treated animals, both lithium treated and with inositol monophosphatase 1 knockout, had significantly elevated cholinergic behavior rating and significantly increased or earlier seizures compared with the controls. The effect of inositol-deficient food supports the role of inositol depletion in the effects of lithium on pilocarpine-induced behavior. However, the relevance of this behavior to other more mood-related effects of lithium is not clear.

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