Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lithium May Protect Neurons From Radiation Therapy

Date:
October 15, 2004
Source:
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Summary:
Patients who undergo radiation for treatment of brain tumors may survive their cancer only to have lasting memory and learning deficiencies, the impact of which can be particularly devastating for children.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 8, 2004) -- Patients who undergo radiation for treatment of brain tumors may survive their cancer only to have lasting memory and learning deficiencies, the impact of which can be particularly devastating for children.

Related Articles


Now, researchers at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center have discovered that lithium, a drug commonly used to treat bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses, can protect the brain cells involved in learning and memory from radiation damage.

While the work has been conducted in cell culture and animal studies thus far, clinical trials are expected to be conducted soon to test whether the drug can protect humans from cognitive deficits as a result of cranial radiation therapy.

The researchers presented their work during the 46th annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, earlier this week in Atlanta.

"In addition to killing cancer cells, radiation can cause cell death – apoptosis – in normal cells as well," said Dennis Hallahan, M.D., professor and chair of Radiation Oncology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. "Particularly susceptible are neurons in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that plays a crucial role in learning and memory."

Lithium is an inhibitor of a protein that causes apoptosis called glycogen synthase kinase 3 b. Studies suggest that it may protect neurons from a variety of cytotoxic insults, including observations that the incidence of Alzheimer's disease – which leads to progressive and profound memory loss – is lower among patients who take lithium for mental illness, Hallahan said.

The researchers observed in animal models that a single radiation dose of 5 Gy caused a massive amount of apoptosis in the hippocampus but not in other areas of the brain.

However, treatment of a mouse hippocampus cell with lithium for a week prior to 3 Gy of radiation resulted in a 60 percent increase in cell survival; a week's treatment with lithium prior to a radiation dose of 6 Gy resulted in a 70 percent increase in cell survival.

The researchers also observed animals in a maze to determine long-term effects on memory and learning, and found that the animals pre-treated with lithium performed better than those who did not receive lithium prior to radiation.

The team further noted that lithium did not appear to protect other types of brain cells studied, suggesting that its effects may be selective for neurons.

"Lithium may therefore provide a means of attenuating long-term cognitive deficits in patients treated with cranial irradiation," the researchers said.

Co-authors include Eric Edwards, William Whetsell, Eric Shinohara, Jiahuai Tan and Kate Osusky. The work was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

The study was one of 17 presented by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators during the meeting of the world's largest radiation oncology society, with 7,500 members. For more information, visit http://www.astro.org.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Lithium May Protect Neurons From Radiation Therapy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041012090601.htm>.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (2004, October 15). Lithium May Protect Neurons From Radiation Therapy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041012090601.htm
Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Lithium May Protect Neurons From Radiation Therapy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041012090601.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins