Lithium and Therapeutic Targeting of GSK-3.Cells. 2021 01 28; 10(2)C
Lithium salts have been in the therapeutic toolbox for better or worse since the 19th century, with purported benefit in gout, hangover, insomnia, and early suggestions that lithium improved psychiatric disorders. However, the remarkable effects of lithium reported by John Cade and subsequently by Mogens Schou revolutionized the treatment of bipolar disorder. The known molecular targets of lithium are surprisingly few and include the signaling kinase glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3), a group of structurally related phosphomonoesterases that includes inositol monophosphatases, and phosphoglucomutase. Here we present a brief history of the therapeutic uses of lithium and then focus on GSK-3 as a therapeutic target in diverse diseases, including bipolar disorder, cancer, and coronavirus infections.