Lithium has been known to be an effective medication for people with bipolar disorder. The mechanisms of action of lithium in the brain is not very well understood. NMR spectroscopy and imaging are effective both in determining lithium levels in tissue and brain. We have monitored lithium levels in red blood cells. We have been able to separate intra- and extracellular compartments of lithium using shift reagents, thereby obtaining T^1 's of both the compartments. Lithium uptake as a function of hematocrit was monitored weekly over a 3 week period. The time constant of 50 mM lithium uptake at 25°C and 85% hematocrit was found to be 16.5 hrs. The time constant of 1.8 mM lithium uptake at 37 °C and 45% hematocrit was found to be 11.6 hrs. Experiments on the visibility of the quadrupolar nuclei indicate that it is only 74-90% visible and the visibility decreased with decreasing concentrations.
Gullapalli, Rao P.; Hawk, Roger M.; and Komoroski, Richard A.
"7Li NMR of Normal Human Erythrocytes,"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 43
, Article 12.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol43/iss1/12