Muscarinic receptor regulation and protein kinase C: Sites for the action of chronic lithium in the hippocampus

R. H. Lenox, D. G. Watson, J. Ellis

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Regulation of muscarinic receptor activity in critical regions of the limbic system may represent a site for the therapeutic action of lithium. Muscarinic receptors in the hippocampus are coupled to phosphoinositide (PI) hydrolysis and the generation of the second messengers inositol (1,4,5) trisphosphate [Ins (1,4,5)P3] as well as diacylglycerol (DAG), which can directly activate protein kinase C (PKC). Since lithium may affect the regeneration of critical receptor-coupled pools of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate, studies in our laboratory have investigated the effects of chronic lithium on the regulation of the muscarinic receptor response. We have recently demonstrated that, following chronic administration of atropine in control and chronic lithium animals, there is an up-regulation of muscarinic receptor binding sites in the hippocampus; however, a concomitant sensitization of the carbachol-stimulated PI response is observed only in control animals. We have so far detected no effects of either in vitro or in vivo lithium on muscarinic receptor interactions with G proteins. However, we have observed a reduction in the in vitro phosphorylation of a major PKC phosphoprotein substrate in the rat hippocampus, following chronic lithium treatment. This effect may be related to long-lasting changes in regulation of receptor activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-197
Number of pages7
JournalPsychopharmacology bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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