The three drugs commonly used to treat manic depression (bipolar affective disorder) act through a common mechanism, shows a report in this week's Nature (Vol. 417, No. 6886, 16 May 02, pp. 292-295). The discovery should help researchers understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the disorder and the action of the drugs used to treat it.
Lithium, carbamazepine and valproic acid all deplete a neurotransmitter called inositol, say Anne Mudge and Adrian J. Harwood and colleagues of the University College, London. This suggests that the search for clinical diagnostic tests and new mood-stabilizing drugs should focus on inositol phosphate signalling pathways.
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