Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2003 Feb;27(1):55-60
Molecular Neuroscience and Bioinformatics Laboratories, Mental Health, Behavioral Science and Research Services, VA Medical Center (151), 800 Zorn Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206, USA.
Myo-inositol monophosphatase 1 (IMPase 1) is one of the targets for the mood-stabilizing action of lithium. Inhibition of IMPase is the basis for the "inositol depletion hypothesis" for the molecular action of lithium. To better understand the precise action of chronic (up to 4 weeks) lithium treatment on IMPase 1 activity, we measured IMPase 1 activity using both a colorimetric and a radiometric assay in rats (53-58 days old) fed a diet containing 0.2% lithium carbonate. Our results show that IMPase 1 activity increases substantially in the various brain regions analyzed, even doubling in some regions in the following order, after chronic treatment: hippocampus>cerebellum>striatum>cerebral cortex>brain stem. Both the qualitative and quantitative increases of IMPase 1 activity by chronic lithium treatment were substantiated by Western blot analysis of hippocampal and cerebral cortex regions. We conclude that the increased IMPase 1 activity is an adaptational response to chronic lithium treatment, and may involve direct or indirect stimulation of IMPA1 (which encodes IMPase 1) and/or turnover of the enzyme. The increased enzyme activity may alter critical neurochemical processes involving either free myo-inositol, the precursor of inositol based signaling system or other metabolic pathways, since IMPase 1 also utilizes selective sugar phosphates, such as galactose-1-phosphate, as substrates. One or more of these signal and metabolic pathways may be associated with lithium's psychotherapeutic mood-stabilizing action.