Lithium (Li) continues to be a standard small compound used for the treatment of neurological disorders. Besides neuronal cells, Li is also known to affect immune cell function. In spite of its clinical use, potential mechanisms by which Li modulates immune cells, especially macrophages and its clinical relevance in bipolar patients are not well understood. Here, we provide an overview of the literature with regard to Li's effects on monocytes and macrophages. We have also included some of our results showing that Li differentially modulates chemokine gene expression in the absence and presence of Toll-like receptor-4 stimulation in a human macrophage model. Given that Li has a wide range of intracellular targets both in macrophages as well as in other cell types, more studies are needed to further understand the mechanistic basis of Li's effect in neurological and other inflammatory diseases. These studies could undoubtedly identify new therapeutic targets for treating such diseases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)