Lithium and Virus Infections

  • Steven Specter
  • Gerald Lancz
  • Ricardo O. Bach


Lithium salts (Li) have been shown to influence viral infections by two distinct mechanisms: by inhibiting the cycle of virus replication and by stimulating protective host immune responses to viruses. Refer to Chapter 5 for an in depth discussion of stimulation of immune cell functions. Lithium has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects (1), to enhance both lymphocyte and macrophage functions (2), to decrease the activity of suppressor T lymphocytes (3), and to enhance granulocyte function (4). The in vitro and in vivo antiviral activities of lithium are the focus of this chapter.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Genital Herpes Herpes Simplex Virus Infection Lithium Chloride Lithium Salt 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Horrobin, D.F. (1979). Lithium as a regulator of prostaglandin synthesis. In T. Cooper, N.S. Kline, & M. Schou (Eds.), Lithium (pp. 854–880). Amsterdam: Excerpta Medica.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Shenkman, L., Borkowsky, W., Holzman, R.S., et al. (1978). Enhancement of lymphocyte and macrophage function in vitro by lithium chloride. Clin. Immunol. Immunopathol., 10,178–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dosch, H.M., Matheson, D.S., Shurman, R.K.B., et al. (1980). Anti-suppressor cell effect of lithium in vitro and in vivo. In A.H. Rossoff & W.H. Robinson (Eds.), Lithium effects on granulopoiesis and immune function (pp. 47–62). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lyman, G.H., Williams, C.C., & Preston, D. (1980). The use of lithium carbonate to reduce infection and leukopenia during systemic chemotherapy. N. Engl. J. Med., 302,257–260.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lieb, J. (1979). Remission of recurrent herpes infection during therapy with lithium. N. Engl. J. Med., 301,942.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Skinner, G.R.B. (1983). Lithium ointment for genital herpes. Lancet, 2,288.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Horrobin, D.F. (1984). Lithium in the control of herpesvirus infections. In R.O. Bach (Ed.), Lithium: Current applications in science, medicine, and technology (pp. 397–406). New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Parks, D.G., Greenway, F.L., & Pack, A.T. (1988). Prevention of recurrent herpes type II infection with lithium carbonate. Clin. Res., 36,147A (abstract).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Parenti, D.M., Simon, G.L., Scheib, R.G., et al. (1986). The effect of lithium carbonate in HIV-infected patients with immune dysfunction. In Proceedings 2nd Internat. Symp. AIDS, Paris.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Herbert, V., Jacobson, J., Shevchuk, O., Guile, V., & Sawycky, R. (1988). Lithium in AIDS. Clin. Res., 36,620A (abstract).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Skinner, G.R.B., Hartley, C., Buchan, A., Harper, L., & Gallimore, P. (1980). The effect of lithium chloride on the replication of Herpes simplex virus. Med. Microbiol. Immunol., 168,139–148.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hartley, C.E. (1983). The effect of lithium on Herpes simplex virus replication. Med. Lab. Sci., 40,406–408.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Specter, S., Bach, R.O., & Green, C. (1986). Inhibition of herpes virus in cell culture by lithium ions. Abstr. IX Internat. Cong. Infect. Parasit. Dis., p. 417.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Specter, S., & Bach, R.O. (1987). Lithium ion induced inhibition of herpesviruses in cell culture. Abstr. Am. Soc. Microbiol., p. 16.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Bach, R.O., & Specter, S. (1987). Antiviral activity of the lithium ion with adjuvant agents. In N.J. Birch (Ed.), Lithium: Inorganic pharmacology and psychiatric use (pp. 91–92). Oxford: IRL Press Limited.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bach, R.O. (1987). Lithium and viruses. Med. Hypotheses, 23,157–170.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lieb, J. (1981). Immunopotentiation and inhibition of herpes virus activation during therapy with lithium carbonate. Med. Hypotheses, 7,891–905.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Shenkman, L., Borkowsky, W., & Shopsin, B. (1980). Lithium as an immunologic adjuvant. Med. Hypotheses, 6,1–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Aurelian L. (1988). Herpes simplex. In S. Specter, M. Bendinelli, & H. Friedman (Eds.), Viral induced immunosuppression (pp. 73–99). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Specter
  • Gerald Lancz
  • Ricardo O. Bach

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations