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Neurochem Int. 1996 Jan;28(1):35-40.

Preferential stimulation of glutamate release by 4-aminopyridine in rat striatum in vivo.

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  • 1División de Ciencias Biológicas, C.U.C.B.A., Universidad de Guadalajara, México.


The potassium channel blocker 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) is a potent convulsant drug which, in vitro, stimulates the release of neurotransmitter amino acids. We have studied the effect of 4-AP in vivo on the extracellular concentration of amino acids in rat striatum, by means of microdialysis and HPLC. Perfusion with 4-AP in the awake animal produced intense motor alterations, including barrel turning and running fits. Therefore, most microdialysis experiments were carried out in anesthetized rats. Perfusion with 20-75 mM 4-AP for 12.5 min resulted in a massive increase in extracellular glutamate (up to 20-fold), smaller increases in aspartate and taurine (up to 10-fold) and slight increments in glutamine, alanine, glycine and GABA. In contrast, perfusion with 100 mM K+ produced, mainly, an increment in taurine (7-fold) and modest increases in glutamate and aspartate (100-300%), as well as a notable decrease in glutamine. Tetraethylammonium (TEA, 120 mM) perfusion induced taurine and glutamate elevations similar to those after high K+, but glutamine was not affected. In unanesthetized rats, perfusion with 40 mM 4-AP induced changes in extracellular amino acids similar to those observed under anesthesia. In these animals neither high K+ nor TEA affected significantly the motor behavior. The results suggest that an enhancement of glutamatergic synaptic transmission, rather than a general depolarizing action, is an important factor in the neuronal hyperexcitability induced by 4-AP, which is consistent with the previously demonstrated inhibition of its convulsant effect by glutamate receptor antagonists.

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