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Lithium and the Expanding Brain

      I read with great interest the article by Vernon et al. (
      • Vernon A.C.
      • Natesan S.
      • Crum W.R.
      • Cooper J.D.
      • Modo M.
      • Williams S.C.
      • et al.
      Contrasting effects of haloperidol and lithium on rodent brain structure: a magnetic resonance imaging study with postmortem confirmation.
      ) entitled, “Contrasting Effects of Haloperidol and Lithium on Rodent Brain Structure: A Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study with Postmortem Confirmation,” describing their elegant imaging and postmortem study that showed lithium-related increases and haloperidol-related decreases in whole brain and cortical gray matter volume in rats. Their inclusion of postmortem histological confirmation of in vivo brain volume imaging data is a significant advancement over previous human studies limited to imaging (
      • Bearden C.E.
      • Thompson P.M.
      • Dalwani M.
      • Hayashi K.M.
      • Lee A.D.
      • Nicoletti M.
      • et al.
      Greater cortical gray matter density in lithium-treated patients with bipolar disorder.
      ,
      • Moore G.J.
      • Bebchuk J.M.
      • Wilds I.B.
      • Chen G.
      • Manji H.K.
      Lithium-induced increase in human brain grey matter.
      ,
      • Sassi R.B.
      • Nicoletti M.
      • Brambilla P.
      • Mallinger A.G.
      • Frank E.
      • Kupfer D.J.
      • et al.
      Increased gray matter volume in lithium-treated bipolar disorder patients.
      ).
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      References

        • Vernon A.C.
        • Natesan S.
        • Crum W.R.
        • Cooper J.D.
        • Modo M.
        • Williams S.C.
        • et al.
        Contrasting effects of haloperidol and lithium on rodent brain structure: a magnetic resonance imaging study with postmortem confirmation.
        Biol Psychiatry. 2012; 71: 855-863
        • Bearden C.E.
        • Thompson P.M.
        • Dalwani M.
        • Hayashi K.M.
        • Lee A.D.
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        • et al.
        Greater cortical gray matter density in lithium-treated patients with bipolar disorder.
        Biol Psychiatry. 2007; 62: 7-16
        • Moore G.J.
        • Bebchuk J.M.
        • Wilds I.B.
        • Chen G.
        • Manji H.K.
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        Lancet. 2000; 356: 1241-1242
        • Sassi R.B.
        • Nicoletti M.
        • Brambilla P.
        • Mallinger A.G.
        • Frank E.
        • Kupfer D.J.
        • et al.
        Increased gray matter volume in lithium-treated bipolar disorder patients.
        Neurosci Lett. 2002; 329: 243-245
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      Linked Article

      • Reply to: Lithium and the Expanding Brain
        Biological PsychiatryVol. 72Issue 7
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          We thank Dr. Regenold for his interest and comment on our recent article (1), in which we demonstrated that chronic lithium (Li) treatment increased both whole-brain volume and total cortical gray matter (GM) volume, relative to vehicle-treated controls, the latter effect being reversible upon drug withdrawal, confirmed postmortem (2). Dr. Regenold suggests the osmotic effects of Li (3) may provide a plausible explanation for the apparently transitory increases in cortical GM volume.
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