Lithium is an effective mood stabilizer but its use is associated with many side effects. Electrophysiological recordings of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents (mEPSCs) mediated by glutamate receptor AMPA-subtype (AMPARs) in hippocampal pyramidal neurons revealed that CLi (therapeutic concentration of 1 mM lithium, from days in vitro 4–10) decreased the mean amplitude and mean rectification index (RI) of AMPAR mEPSCs. Lowered mean RI indicate that contribution of Ca2+-permeable AMPARs in synaptic events is higher in CLi neurons (supported by experiments sensitive to Ca2+-permeable AMPAR modulation). Co-inhibiting PKA, GSK-3𝛽 and glutamate reuptake was necessary to bring about changes in AMPAR mEPSCs similar to that seen in CLi neurons. FM1-43 experiments revealed that recycling pool size was affected in CLi cultures. Results from minimum loading, chlorpromazine treatment and hyperosmotic treatment experiments indicate that endocytosis in CLi is affected while not much difference is seen in modes of exocytosis. CLi cultures did not show the high KCl associated presynaptic potentiation observed in control cultures. This study, by calling attention to long-term lithium-exposure-induced synaptic changes, might have implications in understanding the side effects such as CNS complications occurring in perinatally exposed babies and cognitive dulling seen in patients on lithium treatment.
Volume 45, 2020
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