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Four mood stabilizers commonly induce FEZ1 expression in human astrocytes


  • The authors of this paper do not have any commercial associations that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with this manuscript.

Corresponding author:
Hiroaki Tomita, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Biological Psychiatry
Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine
2-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku
Sendai, 980-8575, Japan
Fax: 81-22-717-7809


Yu Z, Ono C, Kim HB, Komatsu H, Tanabe Y, Sakae N, Nakayama KI, Matsuoka H, Sora I, Bunney WE, Tomita H. Four mood stabilizers commonly induce FEZ1 expression in human astrocytes. Bipolar Disord 2011: 13: 486–499. © 2011 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Objectives:  Mood stabilizers influence the morphology, chemotaxis, and survival of neurons, which are considered to be related to the mood-stabilizing effects of these drugs. Although previous studies suggest glial abnormalities in patients with bipolar disorder and an effect of mood stabilizers on certain genes in astrocytes, less is known about the effects of mood stabilizers in astrocytes than in neurons. The present study identifies a common underlying response to mood stabilizers in astrocytes.

Methods:  Human astrocyte-derived cells (U-87 MG) were treated with the four most commonly used mood stabilizers (lithium, valproic acid, carbamazepine, and lamotrigine) and subjected to microarray gene expression analyses. The most prominently regulated genes were validated by qRT-PCR and western blot analysis. The intercellular localization of one of these regulated genes, fasciculation and elongation protein zeta 1 (FEZ1), was evaluated by immunofluorescence staining.

Results:  The microarray data indicated that FEZ1 was the only gene commonly induced by the four mood stabilizers in human astrocyte-derived cells. An independent experiment confirmed astrocytic FEZ1 induction at both the transcript and protein levels following mood stabilizer treatments. FEZ1 localized to the cytoplasm of transformed and primary astrocytes from the human adult brain.

Conclusions:  Our data suggest that FEZ1 may play important roles in human astrocytes, and that mood stabilizers might exert their cytoprotective and mood-stabilizing effects by inducing FEZ1 expression in astrocytes.