Todd Gould, M.D., University of Maryland
Standard Research Grant (2008): $63,750
Developing Preclinical Models of Suicide Endophenotypes to Delineate Lithium’s Antisuicidal Target
Abstract: There is extensive clinical evidence that lithium decreases the occurrence of suicide in patients with bipolar disorder, although the precise mechanism responsible for this outcome is not well-understood. In part, this is because there are no validated animal models to suggest how lithium exerts it antisuicidal effects. This study seeks to address this gap by testing in mice a model that hypothesizes that lithium decreases aggression and impulsivity by inhibiting the enzyme, glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3). It is hoped that confirmation of the clinical endophenotypes of aggression and impulsivity as lithium targets in mice will open new paths to understanding the potent effects of the medication in animals, and eventually in humans. Understanding the mechanism by which lithium prevents suicide will also help in the development of new and improved medications that inhibit suicide without some of the negative side effects of lithium.
Click here to read about the findings from Dr. Gould's Standard Research Grant.