Elevation of choline and glycine in red blood cells of psychiatric patients due to lithium treatment

P. A. Shea, J. G. Small, H. C. Hendrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Levels of choline (Ch) and glycine (Gly) were determined in red blood cells (RBC) from psychiatric patients who were either on lithium therapy or lithium-free and normal subjects. Subjects were divided into four groups: normal subjects who have never received Li+; Li+ free affective patients; Li+ free patients with various psychiatric disorders; and affective patients under Li+ treatment. The patient groups included affective, schizophrenic, schizo-affective disorders, as well as patients with organic brain syndrome and Cornelia de Lange syndrome. In general, all patients on therapeutic dosages of Li+ had significantly higher levels of Ch in RBC when compared to Li+ free normals or patients. Glycine levels in RBC were also significantly higher in patients on Li+ compared to normals or LI+ free affective disorder patients. Plasma Ch was significantly elevated in patients receiving Li+. There was an apparently predictable time course between cessation of Li+ therapy and decreases in levels of Ch and Gly in RBC to normal levels; in Ch of approximately 30-40 days, in Gly of less than 6 days. There were no significant differences in Ch between Li+ free patients, irrespective of their disorder, and normal subjects. RBC Gly levels were equivalent between normal subjects and Li+ free patients. These data imply that elevations in Gly and Ch are more a function of Li+ therapy than of psychiatric diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)825-830
Number of pages6
JournalBiological psychiatry
Volume16
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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