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Eur J Pharmacol. 2003 Aug 22;476(1-2):3-16.

Glutamate metabotropic receptors as targets for drug therapy in epilepsy.

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Department of Pharmacology, Monash University, Melbourne 3800, Australia.


Metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors have multiple actions on neuronal excitability through G-protein-linked modifications of enzymes and ion channels. They act presynaptically to modify glutamatergic and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic transmission and can contribute to long-term changes in synaptic function. The recent identification of subtype-selective agonists and antagonists has permitted evaluation of mGlu receptors as potential targets in the treatment of epilepsy. Agonists acting on group I mGlu receptors (mGlu1 and mGlu5) are convulsant. Antagonists acting on mGlu1 or mGlu5 receptors are anticonvulsant against 3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG)-induced seizures and in mouse models of generalized motor seizures and absence seizures. The competitive, phenylglycine mGlu1/5 receptor antagonists generally require intracerebroventricular administration for potent anticonvulsant efficacy but noncompetitive antagonists, e.g., (3aS,6aS)-6a-naphthalen-2-ylmethyl-5-methyliden-hexahydrocyclopenta[c]furan-1-on (BAY36-7620), 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)pyridine hydrochloride (MPEP), and 2-methyl-6-(2-phenylethenyl)pyridine (SIB-1893) block generalized seizures with systemic administration. Agonists acting on group II mGlu receptors (mGlu2, mGlu3) to reduce glutamate release are anticonvulsant, e.g., 2R,4R-aminopyrrolidine-2,4-dicarboxylate [(2R,4R)-APDC], (+)-2-aminobicyclo[3.1.0]hexane-2,6-dicarboxylic acid (LY354740), and (-)-2-oxa-4-aminobicyclo[3.1.0]hexane-4,6-dicarboxylate (LY379268). The classical agonists acting on group III mGlu receptors such as L-(+)-2-amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid, and L-serine-O-phosphate are acutely proconvulsant with some anticonvulsant activity. The more recently identified agonists (R,S)-4-phosphonophenylglycine [(R,S)-PPG] and (S)-3,4-dicarboxyphenylglycine [(S)-3,4-DCPG] and (1S,3R,4S)-1-aminocyclopentane-1,2,4-tricarboxylic acid [ACPT-1] are all anticonvulsant without proconvulsant effects. Studies in animal models of kindling reveal some efficacy of mGlu receptor ligands against fully kindled limbic seizures. In genetic mouse models, mGlu1/5 antagonists and mGlu2/3 agonists are effective against absence seizures. Thus, antagonists at group I mGlu receptors and agonists at groups II and III mGlu receptors are potential antiepileptic agents, but their clinical usefulness will depend on their acute and chronic side effects. Potential also exists for combining mGlu receptor ligands with other glutamatergic and non-glutamatergic agents to produce an enhanced anticonvulsant effect. This review also discusses what is known about mGlu receptor expression and function in rodent epilepsy models and human epileptic conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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