DOI: 10.1007/s13311-017-0554-7 Pages: 582-587
Article Type: Review

Genomics of Lithium Action and Response

1. University of Strathclyde, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Correspondence to:
Benjamin S. Pickard



Lithium is the most successful mood stabilizer treatment for bipolar disorder. However, unlike conventional drugs that are designed to interact with a specific molecular target, the actions of lithium are distributed across many biological processes and pathways. Treatment response is subject to genetic variation between individuals and similar genetic variation may dictate susceptibility to side effects. Transcriptomic, genomic, and cell-model research strategies have all been deployed in the search for the genetic factors and biological systems that mediate the interaction between genetics and the therapeutic actions of lithium. In this review, recent findings from genome-wide studies and patient cell lines will be summarized and discussed from a standpoint that genuine progress is being made to define clinically useful mechanisms of this treatment, to place it in the context of bipolar disorder pathology, and to move towards a time when the prescription of lithium is targeted to those individuals who will derive the greatest benefit.

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  • Online: Jun 21, 2017

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