Lithium protects against methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity in PC12 cells via Akt/GSK3β/mTOR pathway

Jintao Wu, Dexiao Zhu, Jing Zhang, Guibao Li, Zengxun Liu, Jinhao Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Methamphetamine (MA) is neurotoxic, especially in dopaminergic neurons. Long-lasting exposure to MA causes psychosis and increases the risk of Parkinson's disease. Lithium (Li) is a known mood stabilizer and has neuroprotective effects. Previous studies suggest that MA exposure decreases the phosphorylation of Akt/GSK3β pathway in vivo, whereas Li facilitates the phosphorylation of Akt/GSK3β pathway. Moreover, GSK3β and mTOR are implicated in the locomotor sensitization induced by psychostimulants and mTOR plays a critical role in MA induced toxicity. However, the effect of MA on Akt/GSK3β/mTOR pathway has not been fully investigated in vitro. Here, we found that MA exposure significantly dephosphorylated Akt/GSK3β/mTOR pathway in PC12 cells. In addition, Li remarkably attenuated the dephosphorylation effect of MA exposure on Akt/GSK3β/mTOR pathway. Furthermore, Li showed obvious protective effects against MA toxicity and LY294002 (Akt inhibitor) suppressed the protective effects of Li. Together, MA exposure dephosphorylates Akt/GSK3β/mTOR pathway in vitro, while lithium protects against MA-induced neurotoxicity via phosphorylation of Akt/GSK3β/mTOR pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-373
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 25 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Akt
  • GSK3β
  • Lithium
  • Methamphetamine
  • Neurotoxicity
  • mTOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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