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Epilepsy Res. 2002 May;49(3):203-10.

Gabapentin and vigabatrin increase GABA in the human neocortical slice.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine, P.O. Box 208018, New Haven, CT 06520-8018, USA.


The effects of antiepileptic drugs, gabapentin and vigabatrin, on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) concentrations were studied in human (n=14) and rat (n=6) neocortical slice preparations. In this study, neocortical slices were incubated with gabapentin, vigabatrin or no drugs for 3 h in an oxygenated environment. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) of perchloric acid (PCA) extracts was used to measure GABA concentrations. Vigabatrin increased cellular GABA concentrations in both human and rat neocortical slices by 62% (P<0.001) and 88% (P<0.03), respectively. Gabapentin significantly increased GABA concentrations by 13% (P<0.02) in human neocortical slices made from tissue resected during epilepsy surgery. However, in the rat neocortical slice exposed to the same conditions as the human tissue, gabapentin did not increase GABA significantly. These results confirm our MRS studies in vivo that gabapentin increases GABA levels in epileptic patients, but has minimal or no effect in a healthy rodent model. Caution must be used in extrapolating negative results obtained in rodent models to the human condition.

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