ABSTRACT: Vincristine (VCR) as a frequently used antimitotic agent which is commonly prescribed for wide spectrum of neoplasm, causes mixed sensorimotor neuropathy. Several evidences show lithium could be a neuroprotective agent, therefore to assess whether a pretreatment and at subtherapeutic dose it could prevent the peripheral neuropathy produced by VCR, rats were treated with VCR 0.1mg/kg i.p. for 3 alternative doses and / or lithium chloride (20mg/kg or 40 mg/kg i.p. daily from the first day to the day of sacrifice). Erythrocyte lithium concentration (ELC) and plasma lithium concentration (PLC) were measured at the seventh day of study and the day of scarification. After seventh day of lithium administration, PLC and ELC reached to a steady state at subtheraputic dose and they did not significantly change at normal housing situation. Hot plate, open field test and nerve conduction velocity were used to evaluate the sensory and motor neuropathy. Only VCR treated rats showed behavioral, electrophysiological and histological evidences of a mixed sensorimotor neuropathy by significant increase in hot plate latencies and a marked decrease in total distance moved and conduction velocities in both sensory and motor nerves. Lithium at the dose of 20mg/kg and specially 40mg/kg robustly reduced the rate of mortality, general toxicity and was able to ameliorate mixed sensorimotor neuropathy induced by VCR. These results suggest that lithium at dose of 20mg/kg and 40 mg/kg, potentially by its effects on cell survival pathways such as inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3β), can prevent both motor and sensory components of VCR neuropathy.
Acta medica Iranica 06/2012; 50(6):373-9.