Antidepressant Lithium Accumulates in the Brain?
(Ivanhoe Newswire) –Experiments with neutrons at the Technische Universita¨t Mu¨nchen (TUM) show that the antidepressant lithium accumulates more strongly in white matter of the brain than in grey matter, leading to the conclusion that it works differently from synthetic psychotropic drugs.
Lithium is most popular for its use in rechargeable batteries, but it has been used to treat various psychological diseases, like depression and bipolar disorders, for decades now. It is known that lithium lightens moods and reduces aggression potential, but the exact biological mode of action in certain brain regions has hardly been understood.
For his doctoral thesis, Josef Lichtinger, Chair for Hadron and Nuclear Physics (E12) at the Technische Universita¨t Mu¨nchen, received tissue samples taken from patients treated with lithium, untreated patients and healthy test persons. He exposed these to a focused cold neutron beam of greatest intensity at the measuring station for prompt gamma activation analysis at FRM II. He found that lithium reacts with neutrons in a very specific manner and only in the samples of a depressive patient treated with lithium did he observe a higher accumulation of lithium in the so-called white matter.
For more information, go to: http://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/short/article/31053/
SOURCE: Technische Universita¨t Mu¨nchen (TUM), September 2013
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