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