Psychopharmacology

, Volume 143, Issue 4, pp 401–407

In vitro immunoregulatory effects of lithium in healthy volunteers

  • M. Maes
  • C. Song
  • A.-h. Lin
  • Rosaria Pioli
  • Gunter Kenis
  • Marta Kubera
  • Eugene Bosmans
ORIGINAL INVESTIGATION

DOI: 10.1007/s002130050965

Cite this article as:
Maes, M., Song, C., Lin, A. et al. Psychopharmacology (1999) 143: 401. doi:10.1007/s002130050965

Abstract

Rationale: There is now some evidence that major depression is associated with activation of the inflammatory response system (IRS). Lithium is effective in the treatment and prophylaxis of major depression and shows significant immunoregulatory functions. Objective: The aims of the present study were to examine the in vitro effects of lithium on the unstimulated and lipolysaccharide (LPS) + phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-induced production of proinflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) and interferon-γ (IFNγ), and negative immunoregulatory cytokines or proteins, such as IL-10 and the IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA). Methods: The in vitro effects of lithium carbonate at low (10−4 M and 10−5 M) and therapeutic (10−3 M) concentrations on the above cytokines and the IL-1RA were examined in nine healthy volunteers on whole blood supernatant cultured for 72 h. Results: Lithium (10−3 M) in the presence of LPS+PHA significantly increased the stimulated production of IFNγ, IL-8, TNFα, IL-1RA and IL-10. Lithium (10−3 M) significantly increased the unstimulated production of IL-8 and IL-10. Conclusions: The results suggest that lithium has significant immunoregulatory effects by increasing the production of both proinflammatory cytokines (IFNγ, TNFα and IL-8) and negative immunoregulatory cytokines or proteins (IL-10 and the IL-1RA).

Key words LithiumCytokinesBipolar depressionImmunologyInterferonInterleukin-6Tumor necrosis factor

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Maes
    • 1
  • C. Song
    • 1
  • A.-h. Lin
    • 1
  • Rosaria Pioli
    • 2
  • Gunter Kenis
    • 6
  • Marta Kubera
    • 1
  • Eugene Bosmans
    • 6
  1. 1.Clinical Research Center for Mental Health (CRC-MH), University Department of Psychiatry, AZ Stuivenberg, 267 Lange Beeldekensstraat, B-2060 Antwerp, Belgium e-mail: m.maes@unicall.be, Fax: +32-3-6332814BE
  2. 2.IRCCS, Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, ItalyIT
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USAUS
  4. 4.Life Sciences Research Centre, Carleton University, Ottawa, CanadaCA
  5. 5.Department of Medical Biochemistry, University of Antwerp, Edegem, BelgiumBE
  6. 6.Eurogenetics, Tessenderlo, BelgiumBE
  7. 7.Department of Endocrinology, Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow, PolandPL