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Anticonvulsant effects of the BK-channel antagonist paxilline.

journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2009, 00:00 authored by Jesse J. Sheehan, Brett L. Benedetti, Alison L. Barth

PURPOSE: Mutations that enhance currents through the Ca(2+)- and voltage-gated K(+) channel BK (Slo, maxiK, KCNMA1) have been associated with seizure disorders in both rodent models and humans. Previously we have found that seizures themselves induce a gain-of-function in BK channels that is associated with elevated excitability in neocortical neurons. In this study, we sought to examine whether administration of BK-channel antagonists possess anticonvulsant activity in vivo.

METHODS: Seizures were induced in animals by intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)(A) antagonists picrotoxin or pentylenetetrazole. Twenty-four hours following induction of the initial seizure episode, animals were reinjected with chemoconvulsant in the presence of the BK-channel antagonist paxilline or saline. The presence and duration of tonic-clonic seizures were evaluated.

RESULTS: Intraperitoneal injection of paxilline was sufficient to eliminate tonic-clonic seizures in picrotoxin-treated animals. Paxilline reduced seizure duration and intensity in pentylenetetrazole-injected animals.

DISCUSSION: The BK-channel antagonist paxilline possesses significant anticonvulsant activity in both picrotoxin and pentylenetetrazole seizure models, an effect that may be related to the seizure-dependent gain-of-function in BK channel previously observed in neocortical neurons in vitro.