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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