Lithium Therapy Effects on the Reproductive System

  • Verónica Palmira Filippa
  • Fabián Heber MohamedEmail author


The chemical properties of lithium (Li) make it an extremely active substance in the body. It is active in the form of Li+ ion, so all salts have the same pharmacological action. Li salts are used to treat manic-depressive disorders (bipolar affective disorders), depressive manic symptoms that include hurried speech, hyperactivity, little need for sleep, aggression, and cholera. Li is a mood stabilizer and reduces extreme behaviors by restoring the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. The modifications of the cAMP signaling pathway, alterations in the phosphoinositol pathway, and variations in the availability of GABA and glutamate are some described mechanisms of action of Li to achieve its antimanic and mood-stabilizing effects. Thus, Li exerts modifications on the circadian rhythm, neurotransmission processes in the central nervous system, and neuroendocrine functions.

Li therapies have benefits that have not yet been overtaken by other drugs. However, there is also some resistance to using these drugs, partly due to the lack of knowledge of the real impact of its adverse effects although some of them are reversible with the discontinuation of treatment. However, less known and more controversial are the toxic effects of Li therapy on the reproductive system and, therefore, on human sexual functions. Studies in human and laboratory animals on the effects of Li have demonstrated significant effects on the functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Therefore, this ion may alter human reproduction.


Lithium Hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis Human reproduction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Verónica Palmira Filippa
    • 1
  • Fabián Heber Mohamed
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of Chemistry, Biochemistry and PharmacyNational University of San LuisSan LuisArgentina

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