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Prog Neurobiol. 1998 Apr;54(6):721-41.

Pharmacology of glutamate receptor antagonists in the kindling model of epilepsy.

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  • Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Pharmacy, School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany.

Abstract

It is widely accepted that excitatory amino acid transmitters such as glutamate are involved in the initiation of seizures and their propagation. Most attention has been directed to synapses using NMDA receptors, but more recent evidence indicates potential roles for ionotropic non-NMDA (AMPA/kainate) and metabotropic glutamate receptors as well. Based on the role of glutamate in the development and expression of seizures, antagonism of glutamate receptors has long been thought to provide a rational strategy in the search for new, effective anticonvulsant drugs. Furthermore, because glutamate receptor antagonists, particularly those acting on NMDA receptors, protect effectively in the induction of kindling, it was suggested that they may have utility in epilepsy prophylaxis, for example, after head trauma. However, first clinical trials with competitive and uncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonists in patients with partial (focal) seizures, showed that these drugs lack convincing anticonvulsant activity but induce severe neurotoxic adverse effects in doses which were well tolerated in healthy volunteers. Interestingly, the only animal model which predicted the unfavorable clinical activity of competitive NMDA antagonists in patients with chronic epilepsy was the kindling model of temporal lobe epilepsy, indicating that this model should be used in the search for more effective and less toxic glutamate receptor antagonists. In this review, results from a large series of experiments on different categories of glutamate receptor antagonists in fully kindled rats are summarized and discussed. NMDA antagonists, irrespective whether they are competitive, high- or low-affinity uncompetitive, glycine site or polyamine site antagonists, do not counteract focal seizure activity and only weakly, if at all, attenuate propagation to secondarily generalized seizures in this model, indicating that once kindling is established, NMDA receptors are not critical for the expression of fully kindled seizures. In contrast, ionotropic non-NMDA receptor antagonists exert potent anticonvulsant effects on both initiation and propagation of kindled seizures. This effect can be markedly potentiated by combination with low doses of NMDA antagonists, suggesting that an optimal treatment of focal and secondarily generalized seizures may require combined use of both non-NMDA and NMDA antagonists. Given the promising results obtained with novel AMPA/kainate antagonists and glycine/NMDA partial agonists in the kindling model, the hope for soon having potentially useful glutamate antagonists for use in epileptic patients is increasing.

PMID:
9560847
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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