Lithium exerts a time-dependent and tissue-selective attenuation of the dexamethasone-induced polyamine response in rat brain and liver

Gad M. Gilad, Varda H. Gilad, Robert A. Casero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


It has previously been shown that chronic, but not acute, lithium treatment indirectly prevents the dexamethasone-induced increase in brain polyamine-metabolizing enzymes. In the present study we determined the effects of lithium treatment on changes in cellular polyamines, 6 h after dexamethasone challenge (3 mg/kg intraperitoneally). The findings demonstrate that chronic lithium (daily intraperitoneal 2.5 mmol/kg injections for 2 weeks) treatment completely prevents the accumulation of putrescine, in parallel to its prevention of the dexamethasone-induced increase in ornithine decarboxylase activity. A partial attenuation of this polyamine response was also observed in the liver. Only minor and inconsistent changes were observed in the concentrations of the polyamines, spermidine and spermine. Acute lithium treatment (a single injection at times ranging from 1 to 24 h prior to dexamethasone challenge) did not attenuate the dexamethasone-induced increases in brain putrescine concentration nor in ornithine decarboxylase activity. It is suggested that prevention of the stress-induced polyamine response in the brain may be an important mechanism through which prophylactic lithium may exert its beneficial effect in manic-depressive illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-192
Number of pages6
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 14 1994



  • Brain
  • Dexamethasone
  • Lithium
  • Ornithine decarboxylase
  • Polyamine
  • Putrescine
  • Rat
  • Spermidine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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