DNAzyme-Based Lithium-Selective Imaging Reveals Higher Lithium Accumulation in Bipolar Disorder Patient-Derived Neurons

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Abstract

Lithium has been a drug for bipolar disorders (BD) for over 70 years; however, its usage has been limited by its narrow therapeutic window (between 0.6 and 1.2 mM). Understanding the cellular distribution of lithium ions (Li+) in patient cells will offer deep insight into this limitation, but selective imaging of Li+ in living cells under biomedically relevant concentration ranges has not been achieved. Herein, we report in vitro selection and development of a Li+-specific DNAzyme fluorescent sensor with >100-fold selectivity over other biorelevant metal ions. This sensor allows comparative Li+ visualization in HeLa cells, human neuronal progenitor cells (NPCs), and neurons derived from BD patients and healthy controls. Strikingly, we detected enhanced accumulation of Li+ in cells derived from BD patients compared with healthy controls in differentiated neurons but not NPCs. These results establish the DNAzyme-based sensor as a novel platform for biomedical research into BD and related areas using lithium drugs.

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McGhee, C. E., Yang, Z., Guo, W., Wu, Y., Lyu, M., Delong, C. J., … Lu, Y. (2021). DNAzyme-Based Lithium-Selective Imaging Reveals Higher Lithium Accumulation in Bipolar Disorder Patient-Derived Neurons. ACS Central Science, 7(11), 1809–1820. https://doi.org/10.1021/acscentsci.1c00843

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