Animal Models of Lithium Bio-distribution Studied with Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy Methods 


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Award date15 Feb 2023


The human brain is the main control centre, responsible for all body functions. However, problems can cause severe consequences due to inflammation, such as vision loss, weakness, and paralysis. In different situations, the root of the problem can also be corrected, or the symptoms can be alleviated using surgery, medication, or physical therapy.

During my Ph.D., I employed the laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (often abbreviated as LIBS) to study the bio-distribution of lithium medication in animal models (rats). With LIBS methods, I traced lithium and physiologically important elements in rat brains, foetuses, and kidneys under lithium administration. Lithium is a routinely used bipolar disorder medication that during pregnancy, is linked to increased perinatal complications and congenital abnormalities. The high levels of lithium in the foetuses' brain and blood are likely associated with increased risk of birth malformations.

Similarly, during postnatal lithium administration, lithium was found to be accumulated in the kidneys. The effects are analyzed and associated with the electrolyte balance of baby rats during lactation. Further, LIBS with machine learning analysis can potentially improve understanding of renal side effects in patients on lithium medication by monitoring concentrations in pre and post pregnancy. In addition to the dangers of psychiatric conditions in the mother (dams), the effects of mood-stabilizing medicine like lithium on a developing fetus' or breastfed child's health must be carefully assessed.

I have also examined the silicon dispersion from a concentrated source in the mouse brain using LIBS designed to model brain implants. Even with tissue perfusion, the element lines for Si were detected at the injection site at around 288 nm 3 hours after implantation, suggesting probable infusion into brain tissues. No silicon lines were observed at 24 hours or 7 days post-implantation, confirming clearing. An isolated immune response was found by CD68 macrophage response at 24hr post-injection. The study measures chronic silicon exposure to determine the relation inflammatory response to silicon administration. The present type of protocol, coupling LIBS, neuroimaging, histology, immunohistochemistry, and determination of clearance could be used to investigate the glymphatic system and different tissue states such as in disease (e.g., Alzheimer’s).