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Epilepsy Res. 1996 Jun;24(2):91-100.

Factors determining proconvulsant and anticonvulsant effects of inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase in rodents.

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Neuronal Excitability Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-1408, USA.


Although a majority of studies suggest that inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) are proconvulsant, a substantial minority indicate the opposite (i.e. that inhibitors of NOS are anticonvulsant). As a consequence, the role of endogenous nitric oxide (NO) in the expression of seizures is unclear. In the present series of experiments, we therefore assessed factors governing pro- and anticonvulsant effects of inhibitors of NOS. In mice receiving systemic injections of kainate or picrotoxin, we confirmed the hypothesis that the effects of inhibitors of NOS vary with the model of seizure: Whereas 7-nitroindazole (7-NI) reduced the latency and increased the severity of kainate-induced convulsions (Expt. 1), both 7-NI and N(omega)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) slightly delayed clonus following the systemic administration of picrotoxin at doses > or = 3.5 mg/kg but not at doses < or = 3.0 mg/kg (Expts. 2-5). Paradoxically, L-NAME but not 7-NI significantly reduced the CD50 of picrotoxin, which was approximately 2 mg/kg in control mice (Expt. 4), revealing inhibitor-specific interactions with the dose of the convulsant. Finally, we determined in rats that the effects of L-NAME on kainate-induced seizures vary as a function of genetic factors: L-NAME significantly potentiated kainate-induced convulsions in Sprague-Dawley rats but not in Wistar rats (Expt. 6).

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