Vanadium in Bipolar Disorders—Reviving an Old Hypothesis

Vishnu Priya Sampath, Shiv Vardan Singh, Ilana Pelov, Noa Horesh, Hiba Zannadeh, Ofir Tirosh, Yigal Erel*, David Lichtstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Bipolar disorder (BD) is a severe and common chronic mental illness. The biological basis of the disease is poorly understood and its treatment is unsatisfactory. Our previous studies supported the notion that alterations in Na+, K+-ATPase activity were involved in the etiology of BD. As various chemical elements inhibit Na+, K+-ATPase, we determined the concentration of 26 elements in the serum of BD patients before and after treatment and in postmortem brain samples from BD patients, and compared them with matched controls. The only element that was reduced significantly in the serum following treatment was vanadium (V). Furthermore, the concentration of V was significantly lower in the pre-frontal cortex of BD patients compared with that of the controls. Intracerebroventricular administration of V in mice elicited anxiolytic and depressive activities, concomitantly inhibited brain Na+, K+-ATPase activity, and increased extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation. A hypothesis associating V with BD was set forth decades ago but eventually faded out. Our results are in accord with the hypothesis and advocate for a thorough examination of the possible involvement of chemical elements, V in particular, in BD.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number13901
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

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  • Bipolar disorder
  • Na, K-ATPase
  • behavior
  • brain
  • serum
  • vanadium


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