J Assoc Physicians India 2002 Mar;50:400-6
Kumar AR, Kurup PA.
Medical College Hospital, Trivandrum.
The study was conducted to assess the role of hypothalamic digoxin in neuropsychiatric and systemic disorders. A hypothesis regarding the central role of hypothalamic digoxin in neuroimmunoendocrine integration is proposed.
Blood samples from patients of CNS glioma, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosis, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, primary generalized epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, Down syndrome, AIDS dementia with neuropsychiatric features, syndrome X with multiple lacunar state, senile dementia, familial group (a family with familial coexistence of schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, primary generalized epilepsy, malignant neoplasia, rheumatoid arthritis and syndrome X over three generations), schizophrenia and manic depressive psychosis were analysed for RBC membrane Na+-K+ ATPase, levels of digoxin and Mg++.
Inhibition of RBC membrane Na+-K+ ATPase activity was observed in most cases along with increase in the levels of serum digoxin and decrease in the level of serum Mg++.
The decreased Na+-K+ ATPase activity can be due to increased digoxin, which is a potent inhibitor of this enzyme. The inhibition of Na+-K+ ATPase can contribute to increase in intracellular calcium and decrease in magnesium, which can result in
1) defective neurotransmitter transport mechanism,
2) neuronal degeneration and apoptosis,
3) mitochondrial dysfunction,
4) defective golgi body function and protein processing dysfunction,
5) immune dysfunction and oncogenesis.
The mechanism of how increased intracellular calcium and decreased magnesium can contribute to the above effects is discussed.