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Keywords:

  • inositol depletion;
  • mood stabilizers;
  • myo-inositol uptake

The ‘inositol-depletion hypothesis’ postulates that the therapeutic effects of lithium are due to inhibition of inositol monophosphatase, which leads to depletion of brain cells of myo-inositol and consequently to dampening of phosphoinositide (PI) signaling. This article examines the potential relevance of an alternative mechanism for inositol depletion: inhibition of myo-inositol uptake that proceeds via the sodium/myo-inositol cotransport (SMIT). We discuss recent in vitro experiments that show a pronounced downregulation of SMIT after chronic treatment with lithium, carbamazepine, and valproate at therapeutically relevant concentrations. It is concluded that downregulation of SMIT could represent a common mechanism of action of mood stabilizers.