Genomics of lithium action and response

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Lithium is the most successful mood stabiliser 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 summarised 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-587
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Early online date21 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2017


  • lithium
  • mood stabilsers
  • bipolar disorder
  • genetic factors
  • therapeutic actions
  • patient cell lines

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