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J Neurosci. 2005 Mar 30;25(13):3442-51.

AMPA/kainate receptor-mediated downregulation of GABAergic synaptic transmission by calcineurin after seizures in the developing rat brain.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Center for Biomedical Neuroscience, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas 78229-3900, USA.


Hypoxia is the most common cause of perinatal seizures and can be refractory to conventional anticonvulsant drugs, suggesting an age-specific form of epileptogenesis. A model of hypoxia-induced seizures in immature rats reveals that seizures result in immediate activation of the phosphatase calcineurin (CaN) in area CA1 of hippocampus. After seizures, CA1 pyramidal neurons exhibit a downregulation of GABA(A) receptor (GABA(A)R)-mediated inhibition that was reversed by CaN inhibitors. CaN activation appears to be dependent on seizure-induced activation of Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors (AMPARs), because the upregulation of CaN activation and GABA(A)R inhibition were attenuated by GYKI 52466 [1-(4-aminophenyl)-4-methyl-7,8-methylenedioxy-5H-2,3-benzodiazepine hydrochloride] or Joro spider toxin. GABA(A)R beta2/3 subunit protein was dephosphorylated at 1 h after seizures, suggesting this subunit as a possible substrate of CaN in this model. Finally, in vivo administration of the CaN inhibitor FK-506 significantly suppressed hypoxic seizures, and posttreatment with NBQX (2,3-dihydroxy-6-nitro-7-sulfonyl-benzo[f]quinoxaline) or FK-506 blocked the hypoxic seizure-induced increase in CaN expression. These data suggest that Ca2+-permeable AMPARs and CaN regulate inhibitory synaptic transmission in a novel plasticity pathway that may play a role in epileptogenesis in the immature brain.

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