Background: Lithium has been considered the "gold standard" in the management of bipolar disorder, being the agent compared with "new mood stabilizer". It has also shown effect in the reduction of suicidal thoughts. Among the known mechanisms of action of lithium it has been described the inhibition in inositol monophosphatase (IMP) as resulting in non-competitive inhibition of IMP, resulting in a decrease of inositol in the central nervous system leading to a decrease in the synthesis of inositol triphosphate, affecting the transmission and translation of signals. Added to this, lithium inhibits kinase glycogen synthase enzyme (GSK) 3-β; it’s regulated by different signaling pathways and its dysfunction has been related to the pathophysiology of mood disorders, schizophrenia, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. The neuroprotective effects have been shown of lithium in preclinical studies. The chronic administration of lithium enhances the proliferation of progenitor cells and inhibits cell loss induced by glutamate and glucocorticoids. In addition to a neurotrophic and neuroprotective role, lithium can also exert beneficial effect through its ability to improve mitochondrial function.
Objective: Our aim was to explore the current information on the findings relating to lithium as a substance with possible neuroprotector effect in patients with diagnosis of bipolar disorder, as well as other conditions.
Method: We performed a literature review regarding the use of Lithium and its potential neuroprotective effect in patients
Conclusion: There is enough evidence that lithium may slow the progression of neurocognitive impairment in long term treatment patients, suggesting a potential use for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.