Effects of the potential lithium-mimetic, ebselen, on impulsivity and emotional processing.
Masaki C., Sharpley AL., Cooper CM., Godlewska BR., Singh N., Vasudevan SR., Harmer CJ., Churchill GC., Sharp T., Rogers RD., Cowen PJ.
RATIONALE: Lithium remains the most effective treatment for bipolar disorder and also has important effects to lower suicidal behaviour, a property that may be linked to its ability to diminish impulsive, aggressive behaviour. The antioxidant drug, ebselen, has been proposed as a possible lithium-mimetic based on its ability in animals to inhibit inositol monophosphatase (IMPase), an action which it shares with lithium. OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to determine whether treatment with ebselen altered emotional processing and diminished measures of risk-taking behaviour. METHODS: We studied 20 healthy participants who were tested on two occasions receiving either ebselen (3600 mg over 24 h) or identical placebo in a double-blind, randomized, cross-over design. Three hours after the final dose of ebselen/placebo, participants completed the Cambridge Gambling Task (CGT) and a task that required the detection of emotional facial expressions (facial emotion recognition task (FERT)). RESULTS: On the CGT, relative to placebo, ebselen reduced delay aversion while on the FERT, it increased the recognition of positive vs negative facial expressions. CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests that at the dosage used, ebselen can decrease impulsivity and produce a positive bias in emotional processing. These findings have implications for the possible use of ebselen in the disorders characterized by impulsive behaviour and dysphoric mood.