A novel neuroprotective mechanism for lithium that prevents association of the p75NTR-sortilin receptor complex and attenuates proNGF-induced neuronal death in vitro and in vivo Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Hippocampus
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1
  • Protein Precursors
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Status Epilepticus


  • Neurotrophins play critical roles in the survival, maintenance and death of neurons. In particular, proneurotrophins have been shown to mediate cell death following brain injury induced by status epilepticus (SE) in rats. Previous studies have shown that pilocarpine-induced seizures lead to increased levels of proNGF, which binds to the p75NTR-sortilin receptor complex to elicit apoptosis. A screen to identify compounds that block proNGF binding and uptake into cells expressing p75 and sortilin identified lithium citrate as a potential inhibitor of proNGF and p75NTR-mediated cell death. In this study, we demonstrate that low, submicromolar doses of lithium citrate effectively inhibited proNGF-induced cell death in cultured neurons and protected hippocampal neurons following pilocarpine-induced SE in vivo. We analyzed specific mechanisms by which lithium citrate afforded neuroprotection and determined that lithium citrate prevented the association and internalization of the p75NTR-sortilin receptor complex. Our results demonstrate a novel mechanism by which low-dose treatments of lithium citrate are effective in attenuating p75NTR-mediated cell death in vitro and in vivo.

publication date

  • January 2018



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC5771681

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1523/ENEURO.0257-17.2017

PubMed ID

  • 29349290

Additional Document Info


  • 5


  • 1