n South African Psychiatry Review - Lithium - an update on the mechanisms of action. Part one : pharmacology and signal transduction : review article

Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1811-7805



Lithium has been used clinically for about 50 years. Only in the last several years however has there been a rapid growth in our understanding of its biochemical effects. It is now clear that lithium has a complicated multitude of diverse effects in the human nervous system. This new data is helping us understand the neurobiology of bipolar disorder. The focus of this review will be to distil this new knowledge into a form that will be accesible to the clinician. It will be presented in two parts. Part one will deal primarily with pharmacology and neuronal signal transduction. Part two will focus principally on neural effects and neuroanatomical substrates. This review is designed to help the embattled clinician at the coalface stay abreast of the recent advances in this complicated field. An exhaustive in-depth analysis of biochemical action is not the intention of this work.

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