Department of Pharmacology's Vasudevan Laboratory, in an interdisciplinary project with scientists and clinicians from across Department of Psychiatry, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (Radcliffe Department of Medicine), and the Oxford StemBANCC have used bipolar patient-derived fibroblasts to gain a deeper understanding into patient circadian rhythms, and how these rhythmic changes could predict lithium sensitivity in bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a chronic neuropsychiatric condition associated with mood instability, where patients present significant sleep and circadian rhythm abnormalities. Currently, the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder remains elusive, but treatment with lithium continues as the benchmark pharmacotherapy, functioning as a potent mood stabilizer in most, but not all patients. Lithium is a well-documented circadian modulator. Based on this, we sought to investigate whether lithium differentially impacts circadian rhythms in bipolar patient cell lines and crucially if lithium’s effect on the clock is fundamental to its mood-stabilizing effects.