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Neurobiol Dis. 2012 May;46(2):362-76. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2012.01.017. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Vigabatrin for focal drug delivery in epilepsy: bilateral microinfusion into the subthalamic nucleus is more effective than intranigral or systemic administration in a rat seizure model.

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Department of Molecular Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Vigabatrin is a rationally developed antiepileptic drug, which acts by increasing GABA levels in the brain by irreversibly inhibiting GABA degradation. However, its clinical use in epilepsy is restricted by severe side effects, including vision loss, which is thought to be a consequence of drug exposure of the retina and nonepileptic brain regions. Targeted delivery into brain regions involved in seizure generation and propagation would overcome this problem. Previous studies in rat models of seizures or epilepsy have shown that anticonvulsant effects can be achieved by bilateral microinjection of vigabatrin into the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr), a basal ganglia output structure that plays an important role in the modulation of seizures. In the present study, we compared the anticonvulsant efficacy of vigabatrin after systemic and intranigral administration in a rat model, in which seizure susceptibility can be determined by timed intravenous infusion of pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) before and after drug injection in individual animals. Furthermore, because the subthalamic nucleus (STN) plays a crucial role as a regulator of basal ganglia outflow by providing excitatory glutamatergic input into the two output nuclei of the basal ganglia, SNr and entopeduncular nucleus, we evaluated the effects of bilateral focal delivery of vigabatrin into the STN on PTZ seizure threshold. A significant increase in seizure threshold was observed following systemic (i.p.) administration of high (600 or 1200 mg/kg) doses of vigabatrin. Bilateral microinjection of vigabatrin (10 μg) into either the anterior or posterior SNr also increased seizure threshold, but less markedly than systemic treatment. In contrast, focal delivery into the STN increased seizure threshold more markedly than either intranigral or systemic administration of vigabatrin. Furthermore, focal inhibition of STN was not associated with the severe adverse effects associated with systemic treatment. The data demonstrate that vigabatrin is an interesting substance for focal drug delivery in epilepsy and may be advantageous compared to more commonly evaluated compounds such as muscimol.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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