Lamotrigine as a mood stabilizer: insights from the pre-clinical evidence

Aline Silva de Miranda, Amanda Silva de Miranda, Antônio Lúcio Teixeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Introduction: Lamotrigine (LTG) is a well-established anticonvulsant that is also approved for the prevention of mood relapses in bipolar disorder. However, the mechanisms underlying LTG mood stabilizing effects remain unclear. Areas covered: Herein, the pre-clinical evidence concerning LTG’s’ mode of action in depression and mania is reviewed. Bottlenecks and future perspectives for this expanding and promising field are also discussed. Pre-clinical studies have indicated that neurotransmitter systems, especially serotoninergic, noradrenergic and glutamatergic, as well as non-neurotransmitter pathways such as inflammation and oxidative processes might play a role in LTG’s antidepressant effects. The mechanisms underlying LTG’s anti-manic properties remain to be fully explored, but the available pre-clinical evidence points out to the role of glutamatergic neurotransmission, possibly through AMPA-receptors. Expert opinion: A major limitation of current pre-clinical investigations is that there are no experimental models that recapitulate the complexity of bipolar disorder. Significant methodological differences concerning time and dose of LTG treatment, administration route, animal strains, and behavioral paradigms also hamper the reproducibility of the findings, leading to contradictory conclusions. Moreover, the role of other mechanisms (e.g. inositol phosphate and GSK3β pathways) implicated in the mode of action of different mood-stabilizers must also be consolidated with LTG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-190
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Discovery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal Models
  • Bcl-2
  • BDNF
  • Bipolar Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Dopamine
  • Glutamate
  • Lamotrigine
  • Mania
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery


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