Effects of lithium on lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation in rat primary glia cells

Sigalit Nahman, R. H. Belmaker, Abed N. Azab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lithium is the gold-standard treatment for bipolar disorder, a severe mental illness. A large body of evidence suggests that inflammation plays a role in the pathogenesis of bipolar disorder and that mood stabilizers exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. However, contradicting findings have also been reported. In this study, we examined the effects of lithium on LPS-induced inflammation in rat primary glia cells. Cells were pre-treated with lithium (1 or 10 mM) for 6 or 24 h, after which, inflammation was induced by the addition of LPS (for another 18 h) to the culture medium. Thereafter, medium was collected and cells were harvested for further analyses. Levels of TNF-α, IL1-β and PGE2 were determined by ELISA and NO levels by the Griess reaction assay. Expression levels of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible NO synthase (iNOS) were examined by Western blot analysis. We found that pre-treatment with lithium 10 mM (but not 1 mM) significantly reduced LPS-induced secretion of TNF-α, IL1-β, PGE2 and NO. In addition, lithium significantly reduced the expression of COX-2 and iNOS. These findings indicate that lithium exhibits a potent anti-inflammatory effect. However, it's important to emphasize that this effect was obtained mainly under treatment with an extra-therapeutic concentration of the drug.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)447-458
Number of pages12
JournalInnate Immunity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • Bipolar disorder
  • cytokines
  • inflammation
  • lithium
  • prostaglandins

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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