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J Neurochem. 1990 Oct;55(4):1216-21.

Decrease in the function of the gamma-aminobutyric acid-coupled chloride channel produced by the repeated administration of pentylenetetrazol to rats.

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Department of Experimental Biology, University of Cagliari, Italy.


The acute administration of pentylenetetrazol (PTZ; 25-75 mg/kg i.p.) failed to modify the specific binding of t-[35S]butylbicyclophosphorothionate ([35S]TBPS) to membrane preparations from the cerebral cortex of the rat. In contrast, the repeated administration of PTZ (30 mg/kg i.p., three times a week for 12 weeks) reduced by 26% the density of [35S]TBPS binding sites without modifying the dissociation constant. This effect was observed 3 days after the last PTZ administration. A parallel reduction of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-stimulated 36Cl- uptake was measured in the cerebral cortex of PTZ-treated rats 3 days after the last injection. The repeated administration of PTZ produced sensitization to the drug, or chemical kindling. In fact, no convulsions were observed in the first week of treatment, but all the animals became sensitized to PTZ by the 12th week. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that chronic treatment with PTZ at a subconvulsant dose causes a decrease in GABA-coupled chloride channel activity that may be related to the chemical kindling produced by this compound.

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