Chronic lithium treatment elicits its antimanic effects via BDNF-TRKB dependent synaptic downscaling

Erinn S. Gideons, Pei Yi Lin, Melissa Mahgoub, Ege T Kavalali, Lisa M Monteggia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Lithium is widely used as a treatment for Bipolar Disorder although the molecular mechanisms that underlie its therapeutic effects are under debate. In this study, we show brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is required for the antimanic-like effects of lithium but not the antidepressant-like effects in mice. We performed whole cell patch clamp recordings of hippocampal neurons to determine the impact of lithium on synaptic transmission that may underlie the behavioral effects. Lithium produced a significant decrease in α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor (AMPAR)-mediated miniature excitatory postsynaptic current (mEPSC) amplitudes due to postsynaptic homeostatic plasticity that was dependent on BDNF and its receptor tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB). The decrease in AMPAR function was due to reduced surface expression of GluA1 subunits through dynamin-dependent endocytosis. Collectively, these findings demonstrate a requirement for BDNF in the antimanic action of lithium and identify enhanced dynamin-dependent endocytosis of AMPARs as a potential mechanism underlying the therapeutic effects of lithium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere25480
StatePublished - Jun 16 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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