Lithium alters regional rat brain myo-inositol at 2 and 4 weeks: an ex-vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy study at 18.8 T

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Lithium has been the mainstay of treatment for bipolar disorder. Early studies suggest that lithium acts via inositol depletion. This study assesses the effect of 1, 2 and 4 weeks of lithium treatment on myo-inositol concentrations across several brain regions. Thirty-six Sprague–Dawley rats were treated for 2 weeks with an intraperitoneal injection of either 1 mmol/kg/day, twice daily lithium chloride (n=18) or placebo (2 ml/kg of saline) (n=18). The rats were separated into three groups: 1 week, 2 weeks and 4 weeks. Brains were dissected into prefrontal, temporal and occipital cortical areas, as well as hippocampus, and analyzed at 18.8 T. Myo-inositol was quantified using the Chenomx Profiler software. Lithium did not alter myo-inositol concentrations at 1 week. A significant reduction exists in myo-inositol concentrations in lithium-treated rats at 2 and 4 weeks, across all four brain regions. Studies suggest brain region-specific alterations in myo-inositol concentrations among bipolar patients. Our findings suggest that lithium-induced reduction of myo-inositol is more global.

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