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Neuroreport. 2003 Mar 3;14(3):471-5.

Levetiracetam reduces caffeine-induced Ca2+ transients and epileptiform potentials in hippocampal neurons.

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Institute of Clinical Neuroscience, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.


The effect of the novel antiepileptic drug levetiracetam on caffeine (10 mM)-induced intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i) response was investigated in rat hippocampal neurons in culture, with the aim of exploring the cellular mechanisms of this new drug. Levetiracetam significantly reduced caffeine-induced [Ca2+]i) response, with maximum inhibition at 32 microM. The R-enantiomer of levetiracetam, ucb L060, which is devoid of anticonvulsant activity, at 32 microM had no effect on caffeine-induced [Ca2+]i) response. Caffeine 10 mM also induced epileptiform field potentials in rat hippocampal slices : single stimuli evoked repetitive population spikes and spontaneous field bursts regularly occurred. Levetiracetam (32 microM) significantly inhibited the amplitudes and the number of caffeine-induced repeated population spikes and delayed the appearance of spontaneous bursts, while ucb L060 (32 microM) completely lacked anti-caffeine activity. These results suggest that the inhibition of caffeine-induced Ca release from intra-neuronal stores might be an excitability-reducing effect of levetiracetam, contributing to its antiepileptic activity.

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