Low doses of lithium carbonate reduce melatonin light sensitivity in healthy volunteers

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Hallam, Karen, Olver, James S, Horgan, Jennifer E, McGrath, Caroline, Burrows, Graham and Norman, Trevor R (2005) Low doses of lithium carbonate reduce melatonin light sensitivity in healthy volunteers. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 8 (2). pp. 255-259. ISSN 1461-1457


Sensitivity of the pineal hormone melatonin to bright light at night has been posited as a putative marker of affective disorders. Research demonstrates melatonin supersensitivity to light in bipolar disorder, however the role that lithium carbonate plays in this response is unclear. This study assessed the effect of lithium on nocturnal melatonin secretion and sensitivity to light in healthy adults. Ten participants, tested on two nights, had blood samples drawn between 20:00 and 02:30 hours. On testing nights participants were exposed to 200 lux of light between 24:00 and 01:00 hours. Participants took 250 mg of lithium daily for 5 d between testing nights. The results indicated that lithium had a significant effect on sensitivity to light but not on overall melatonin synthesis. This finding has implications on the true magnitude of the melatonin light response in people with bipolar disorder and may elucidate possible mechanisms of action of lithium.

Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/2768
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > FOR Classification > 1109 Neurosciences
Keywords ResPubID16575. bipolar disorder, light sensitivity, lithium carbonate, melatonin
Citations in Scopus 61 - View on Scopus
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