Lithium and valproate act on the GSK-3β signaling pathway to reverse manic-like behavior in an animal model of mania induced by ouabain

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The present study aimed to investigate the effects of mood stabilizers, specifically lithium (Li) and valproate (VPA), on the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in the brains of rats subjected to the ouabain (OUA)-induced animal model of mania. In addition, the effects of AR-A014418, a GSK-3β inhibitor, on manic-like behavior induced by OUA were evaluated. In the first experimental protocol Wistar rats received a single ICV injection of OUA or artificial cerebrospinal fluid (aCSF). From the day following ICV injection, the rats were treated for 6 days with intraperitoneal injections of saline, Li or VPA twice a day. In the second experimental protocol, rats received OUA, aCSF, OUA plus AR-A014418, or aCSF plus AR-A014418. On the 7th day after OUA injection, locomotor activity was measured using the open-field test. In addition, we analyzed the levels of p-PI3K, p-MAPK, p-Akt, and p-GSK-3β in the brain of rats by immunoblot. Li and VPA reversed OUA-related hyperactivity. OUA decreased p-PI3K, p-Akt and p-GSK-3β levels. Li and VPA improved these OUA-induced cellular dysfunctions; however, the effects of the mood stabilizers were dependent on the protein and brain region analyzed. In addition, AR-A014418 reversed the manic-like behavior induced by OUA. These findings suggest that the manic-like effects of ouabain are associated with the activation of GSK-3β, and that Li and VPA exert protective effects against OUA-induced inhibition of the GSK-3β pathway.

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