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Epilepsy Curr. 2011 Mar;11(2):56-63. doi: 10.5698/1535-7511-11.2.56.

Revisiting AMPA receptors as an antiepileptic drug target.

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1
Department of Neurology, School of Medicine and Center for Neuroscience, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

Abstract

In the 1990s there was intense interest in ionotropic glutamate receptors as therapeutic targets for diverse neurological disorders, including epilepsy. NMDA receptors were thought to play a key role in the generation of seizures, leading to clinical studies of NMDA receptor blocking drugs in epilepsy. Disappointing results dampened enthusiasm for ionotropic glutamate receptors as a therapeutic target. Eventually it became appreciated that another type of ionotropic glutamate receptor, the AMPA receptor, is actually the predominant mediator of excitatory neurotransmission in the central nervous system and moreover that AMPA receptors are critical to the generation and spread of epileptic activity. As drugs became available that selectively target AMPA receptors, it was possible to demonstrate that AMPA receptor antagonists have powerful antiseizure activity in in vitro and in vivo models. A decade later, promising clinical studies with AMPA receptor antagonists, including the potent noncompetitive antagonist perampanel, are once again focusing attention on AMPA receptors as a drug target for epilepsy therapy.

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