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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Lithium activates mammalian Na+/H+ exchangers: isoform specificity and inhibition by genistein.

Replacement of external NaCl with LiCl induced cytoplasmic alkalinization in CCL-39 cells and rat L6 myoblasts expressing the endogenous Na+/H+ exchanger isoform NHE1. This Li+-induced alkalinization is due to activation of the Na+/H+ exchanger because it was completely inhibited by 100 microM ethylisopropylamiloride (apparent Kd=1 microM) and because it did not occur in exchanger-deficient PS120 cells. The effect of Li+ was not mimicked by Na+, K+, Cs+ and choline+. Li+ caused cytoplasmic alkalinization in PS120 cells expressing NHE1 or NHE2, but not NHE3, when Li+ was added to cells at a concentration high enough to saturate their external transport sites as predicted from Li+ affinities. Li+ did not induce phosphatidylinositol (PI) turnover or intracellular Ca2+ mobilization. Li+-induced alkalinization was not affected by protein kinase C down-regulation, loss of glycogen synthase kinase 3beta caused by antisense oligonucleotide treatment, or pretreatment with calphostin C, pertussis toxin, MEK inhibitor PD98059 and PI3-kinase inhibitor LY294002. However, it was markedly suppressed by the tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein (10 microM). Thus, externally added Li+ activates NHE1 and NHE2 via a mechanism possibly involving a tyrosine kinase, causing an increase in cytoplasmic pH that could potentially affect various cell functions.[1]


  1. Lithium activates mammalian Na+/H+ exchangers: isoform specificity and inhibition by genistein. Kobayashi, Y., Pang, T., Iwamoto, T., Wakabayashi, S., Shigekawa, M. Pflugers Arch. (2000) [Pubmed]
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