Lithium decreases VEGF mRNA expression in leukocytes of healthy subjects and patients with bipolar disorder

Department of Psychiatry, Course of Integrated Brain Sciences, University of Tokushima School of Medicine, Tokushima, Japan
Human Psychopharmacology Clinical and Experimental (Impact Factor: 1.85). 06/2011; 26(4-5):358 - 363. DOI: 10.1002/hup.1215

ABSTRACT Objectives
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is thought to be involved in the pathophysiology of mood disorders and the target of antidepressants. The aim of this study was to elucidate molecular effects of lithium on VEGF expression by using leukocytes of healthy subjects and patients with bipolar disorder.Methods
Eight healthy male subjects participated in the first study. Lithium was prescribed for 2 weeks, enough to reach therapeutic serum concentration. Leukocyte counts and serum lithium concentrations were determined at baseline, at 1- and 2-week medication, and at 2 weeks after stopping medication. VEGF mRNA levels were also examined in nine lithium-treated bipolar patients and healthy controls in the second study.ResultsIn the first study, leukocyte counts were significantly increased at 2 weeks compared with those at baseline and were normalized after 2 weeks. VEGF mRNA levels were significantly decreased at 2 weeks and after 2 weeks compared with those at baseline. Consistent with the first study, VEGF mRNA levels were significantly decreased in the lithium-treated bipolar patients compared with healthy controls.Conclusions
Our investigation suggests that VEGF mRNA expression may be useful as a peripheral marker of the effects of lithium. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    • "Paroxetine appears to decrease VEGF mRNA levels in peripheral leukocytes of depressed patients (predominantly at their first episode) after 8-weeks treatment in significant correlation with clinical improvement (Iga et al., 2007), while escitalopram did not alter VEGF plasma levels in depressed patients (predominantly characterized by recurrent depressive episodes and a history of treatment with antidepressants) during 12-weeks of treatment (Ventriglia et al., 2009). Finally, VEGF levels appear to be increased by electroconvulsive therapy, haloperidol, olanzapine, sleep deprivation and lamotrigine; VEGF mRNA expression in leucocytes appear to be decreased by lithium (Elfving and Wegener, 2012; Ibrahim et al., 2011; Kikuchi et al., 2011; Minelli et al., 2011; Pillai and Mahadik, 2006; Segi-Nishida et al., 2008; Sun et al., 2011). "
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