Lithium treatments used for bipolar disorder shown to help fish fight parasite

This is a tale of inner science.

According to recent studies, brain-controlled parasites may be tampered with in fish using the same drug used to cure bipolar illness in people.

Nadia Aubin-Horth, a biologics professor at the University of Laval, who worked with her colleagues, said "this is just the second time that people have rescued the actions of exploited hosts.

Tuesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the results were written.

A difficult life cycle involving many separate animal hosts is found in the Schistocephalus solidus tapeworms.

The larvae of these worms are eaten into freshwater streams by tiny crustaceans known as copepods.

When three-dorsal stickleback fish consume copepods, they join their next host.

Then they spend the next three to seven weeks in a very large glob," which can take up to half of the room inside these little fish, around the length of an AA battery, said Aubin-Horth.

PHOTO: A three-spin stickleback is seen on this undated photo file.

(Getty Images/Paul Kay, FILE)

The fish tend to act accordingly until the worms are able to replicate.

Rather than floating alongside other sticklebacks, they wander out on their own, leaving them more vulnerable to bird predation.

They often swim near to the surface, and Aubin Horth laboratory experiments indicate that they do not respond to predator types as often.

When a bird, such as a heron or a loon, consumes an infected adhesive, the parasite enters the last stage and reproduces and lays eggs.

The eggs leave the bird in their feces and hatch in fresh water, if and where.

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Aubin-team Hord's discovered that brainwashed fish display improvements in the pathway of the signaling molecule inositol by analyzing which genes are involved in the brains of contaminated sticklebacks.

Bipolarly depression humans also have modified inositol levels – an issue that lithium-containing medications can support.

The scientists then observed that brainwashed fish got the same therapy.

Lithium preserved the innate timidity of the fish and guided them to remain less on the shore.

The same individuals who had no concern before lithium care now frozen and concealed as the researchers put decoy birds over the fish tank.

The first time researchers reversed behavioural improvements in parasite-infected animals was with rats carrying toxoplasmosis – medications used to cure schizophrenia reversed the unhealthy loss of apprehension in rats around predators.

Within Science is a printing service managed by and run by the American Institute of Physics which is independant of publications in paper, electronics and multimedia journalism.

PHOTO: Science inside ()

Lithium therapies for bipolar illness were first used on abcnews.go.com to better battle the fish's parasite

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