Effects of dextroamphetamine, lithium chloride, sodium valproate and carbamazepine on intraplatelet Ca2+ levels

Michele L. Ulrich, Susan Rotzinger, Sheila J. Asghar, Paul Jurasz, Veronique A. Tanay, Susan M.J. Dunn, Marek Radomski, Andy Greenshaw, Peter H. Silverstone

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13 Scopus citations


Objective: To explore the possible involvement of second-messenger pathways in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder and the mechanism of action of mood stabilizers, we investigated the effects of dextroamphetamine (a model for mania) and the most widely used mood stabilizers, lithium chloride, sodium valproate and carbamazepine, on intraplatelet levels of calcium ion ([Ca2+]). Design: In the first part of the study, dextroamphetamine was administered in vivo in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design. In the second part of the study, platelets from untreated subjects were incubated in vitro with dextroamphetamine, lithium chloride, sodium valproate or carbamazepine. Participants: Fifteen healthy men between 18 and 45 years of age. Outcome measures: Basal, thrombin-induced and serotonin- (5-HT) induced intraplatelet [Ca2+] determined by means of fura-2 fluorescent intensity. Results: In vivo administration of dextroamphetamine had no effect on basal or agonist-induced intraplatelet [Ca2+]. However, in vitro basal platelet [Ca2+] was significantly higher in samples incubated with dextroamphetamine (86.8 nmol/L [standard error of the mean, SEM, 3.9], p < 0.001), lithium chloride (76.4 nmol/L [SEM 3. 1], p < 0.002), sodium valproate (82.7 nmol/L [SEM 3.7], p < 0.001) and carbamazepine (84.8 nmol/L [SEM 3.3], p < 0.001) than in the controls (58.2 nmol/L [SEM 2.3]). Thrombin-induced and 5-HT-induced peak cytosolic [Ca2+] were significantly greater than control levels in samples incubated with carbamazepine (277.1 nmol/L [SEM 19.9] v. 195.8 nmol/L [SEM 12.2], p < 0.002; and 153.0 nmol/L [SEM 8.2] v. 115.4 nmol/L [SEM 5.7], p < 0.003, respectively). Conclusions: This study does not support the involvement of intraplatelet [Ca2+] in the dextroamphetamine model of mania; however, the modulation of intraplatelet [Ca2+] by the mood stabilizers lithium chloride, sodium valproate and carbamazepine implicates intracellular [Ca2+] in the therapeutic mechanisms of these drugs and the pathophysiological basis of mania.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-125
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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