The effects of lithium on inositol phosphate metabolism may account for the therapeutic actions of lithium in affective disorder. Muscarinic stimulation of the phosphoinositide system blocks synaptic inhibitory actions of adenosine in the hippocampal slice. At therapeutic concentrations, lithium diminished this muscarinic response, whereas rubidium, which does not affect phosphoinositide metabolism, had no effect. A dampening of phosphoinositide-mediated neurotransmission may explain the normalizing effects of lithium in treating both mania and depression.
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