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Neuroscience. 2012 Sep 18;220:158-68. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.06.031. Epub 2012 Jun 21.

Lack of behavioral and cognitive effects of chronic ethosuximide and gabapentin treatment in the Ts65Dn mouse model of Down syndrome.

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1
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Cantabria, c/Cardenal Herrera Oria s/n, Santander 39011, Spain.

Abstract

The Ts65Dn (TS) mouse model of Down syndrome (DS) displays a number of behavioral, neuromorphological and neurochemical phenotypes of the syndrome. Altered GABAergic transmission appears to contribute to the mechanisms responsible for the cognitive impairments in TS mice. Increased functional expression of the trisomic gene encoding an inwardly rectifying potassium channel, subfamily J, member 6 (KCNJ6) has been reported in DS and TS mice, along with the consequent impairment in GAB Aergic function. Partial display of DS phenotypes in mice harboring a single trisomy of Kcnj6 provides compelling evidence for a functional role of increased channel expression in some of the abnormal neurological phenotypes found in DS. Notably, the antiepileptic drug (AED) ethosuximide (ETH), but not other AEDs such as gabapentin (GAB), is known to inhibit KCNJ6 channels in mice. Here, we report the effect of chronic ETH and GAB on the behavioral and cognitive phenotypes of TS and disomic control (CO) mice. Neither drug significantly affected sensorimotor abilities, motor coordination or spontaneous activity in TS and CO mice. Also, ETH and GAB did not induce anxiety in the open field or plus maze tests, did not alter performance in the Morris water maze, and did not affect cued - or context - fear conditioning. Our results thus suggest that KCNJ6 may not be a promising drug target candidate in DS. As a corollary, they also show that long-term use of ETH and GAB is devoid of adverse behavioral and cognitive effects.

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