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Acc. Chem. Res. 39 (4): 283–291 (2006)
Is Competition between Li+ and Mg2+ the Underlying Theme in the Proposed Mechanisms for the Pharmacological Action of Lithium Salts in Bipolar Disorder?
Duarte Mota de Freitas , M Margarida C A Castro , Carlos F G C Geraldes
Lithium salts have been in use for the treatment of bipolar disorder for more than 50 years, but their pharmacological mode of action remains a matter of conjecture. Li+ and Mg2+ share many physicochemical properties. Not surprisingly, many reported cellular targets for Li+ action involve Mg2+-activated enzymes, which are inhibited by Li+. In this Account, we describe results from our and other laboratories that suggest that a competition mechanism between Li+ and Mg2+ ions for Mg2+-binding sites in cellular components is the underlying theme in putative mechanisms of Li+ action.