Psychiatry - Research Publications

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    Lithium suppression of tau induces brain iron accumulation and neurodegeneration
    Lei, P ; Ayton, S ; Appukuttan, AT ; Moon, S ; Duce, JA ; Volitakis, I ; Cherny, R ; Wood, SJ ; Greenough, M ; Berger, G ; Pantelis, C ; McGorry, P ; Yung, A ; Finkelstein, DI ; Bush, AI (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-03-01)
    Lithium is a first-line therapy for bipolar affective disorder. However, various adverse effects, including a Parkinson-like hand tremor, often limit its use. The understanding of the neurobiological basis of these side effects is still very limited. Nigral iron elevation is also a feature of Parkinsonian degeneration that may be related to soluble tau reduction. We found that magnetic resonance imaging T2 relaxation time changes in subjects commenced on lithium therapy were consistent with iron elevation. In mice, lithium treatment lowers brain tau levels and increases nigral and cortical iron elevation that is closely associated with neurodegeneration, cognitive loss and parkinsonian features. In neuronal cultures lithium attenuates iron efflux by lowering tau protein that traffics amyloid precursor protein to facilitate iron efflux. Thus, tau- and amyloid protein precursor-knockout mice were protected against lithium-induced iron elevation and neurotoxicity. These findings challenge the appropriateness of lithium as a potential treatment for disorders where brain iron is elevated (for example, Alzheimer's disease), and may explain lithium-associated motor symptoms in susceptible patients.
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    Medial temporal lobe glutathione concentration in first episode psychosis: A H-1-MRS investigation
    Wood, SJ ; Berger, GE ; Wellard, RM ; Proffitt, T-M ; McConchie, M ; Berk, M ; McGorry, PD ; Pantelis, C (ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE, 2009-03-01)
    Glutathione (GSH) is implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Previous brain spectroscopy studies, however, have been inconsistent, and there is little data available from first episode psychosis patients. This study compared brain GSH in a first episode cohort (n=30) to controls (n=18), using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), examining a temporal lobe voxel. Short-echo (TE 30 ms) acquisition proton MRS was performed on a 3T clinical magnetic resonance scanner. Comparison of the first-episode and control groups' GSH concentrations revealed a significant main effect of group (F(1,46)=4.7, p=0.035), but no main effect of hemisphere (F(1,46)=2.3, p=0.137) or group-by-side interactions (F(1,46)=0.4, p=0.513). Medial temporal lobe GSH concentrations in the first episode group were 22% higher than those in the control group. This study provides further evidence of significant perturbations in brain GSH in first episode psychosis, and supports a broader involvement of GSH in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.