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Keywords:

  • bipolar disorder;
  • folic acid;
  • mania;
  • ouabain;
  • oxidative stress

Brocardo PS, Budni J, Pavesi E, Franco JL, Uliano-Silva M, Trevisan R, Terenzi MG, Dafre AL, Rodrigues ALS. Folic acid administration prevents ouabain-induced hyperlocomotion and alterations in oxidative stress markers in the rat brain. Bipolar Disord 2010: 12: 414–424. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Objective:  Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic, prevalent, and highly debilitating psychiatric illness. Folic acid has been shown to have antidepressant-like effects in preclinical and clinical studies and has also been suggested to play a role in BD. The present work investigates the therapeutic value of folic acid supplementation in a preclinical animal model of mania induced by ouabain.

Methods:  Male Wistar rats were treated twice daily for seven days with folic acid (10, 50, and 100 mg/kg, p.o.) or the mood stabilizer lithium chloride (LiCl) (45 mg/kg, p.o.). One day after the last dose was given, the animals received an i.c.v. injection of ouabain (10 μM), a Na+,K+-ATPase-inhibiting compound. Locomotor activity was assessed in the open-field test. Thiobarbituric acid-reactive substance (TBARS) levels, glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and glutathione reductase (GR) activities were measured in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus.

Results:  Ouabain (10 μM, i.c.v.) significantly increased motor activity in the open-field test, and seven days of pretreatment with folic acid (50 mg/kg, p.o.) or LiCl (45 mg/kg, p.o.) completely prevented this effect. Ouabain treatment elicited lipid peroxidation (increased TBARS levels) and reduced GPx activity in the hippocampus. GR activity was decreased in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. These effects were prevented by pretreatment with folic acid and LiCl.

Conclusions:  Our results show that folic acid, similarly to LiCl, produces a clear antimanic action and prevents the neurochemical alterations indicative of oxidative stress in an animal model of mania.