Date of Award

3-28-2016

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Marlene Murray

Abstract

Bipolar disorder is a severe and chronic debilitating mental disorder characterized by extreme mood swings between mania and depression. The current medications for bipolar disorder, lithium and valproate, have been associated with numerous negative side effects. Although the therapeutic mechanism by which lithium and valproate (VPA) exert their effect is unknown, a leading hypothesis implicates inositol depletion as a mechanism of action. On the other hand, omega-3-fatty acids have been shown to relieve symptoms of bipolar disorder. In this study, we compare the effects of VPA to the effects of decosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on Saccharomyces cerevisiae growth and intracellular inositol concentration. Intracellular inositol levels were examined using a modified enzymatic assay for inositol, which correlates light absorbance to intracellular inositol concentration. The results show that similar to valproate, DHA inhibits cell growth. In addition, unlike valproate, DHA does not decrease intracellular inositol levels.

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