Article

Gabapentin inhibits presynaptic Ca2+ influx and synaptic transmission in rat hippocampus and neocortex

Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, Neurobiology Section, University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 94084, NL-1090 GB, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
European Journal of Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.68). 09/2002; 449(3):221-28. DOI: 10.1016/S0014-2999(02)02044-7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Gabapentin is a widely used drug with anticonvulsant, antinociceptive and anxiolytic properties. Although it has been previously shown that Gabapentin binds with high affinity to the alpha(2)delta subunit of voltage-operated Ca(2+) channels (VOCC), little is known about the functional consequences of this interaction. Here, we investigated the effect of Gabapentin on VOCCs and synaptic transmission in rat hippocampus and neocortex using whole-cell patch clamp and confocal imaging techniques. Gabapentin (100-300 microM) did not affect the peak amplitude or voltage-dependency of VOCC currents recorded from either dissociated or in situ neocortical and hippocampal pyramidal cells. In contrast, Gabapentin inhibited K(+)-evoked increases in [Ca(2+)] in a subset of synaptosomes isolated from rat hippocampus and neocortex in a dose-dependent manner, with an apparent half-maximal inhibitory effect at approximately 100 nM. In hippocampal slices, Gabapentin (300 microM) inhibited the amplitude of evoked excitatory- and inhibitory postsynaptic currents recorded from CA1 pyramidal cells by 30-40%. Taken together, the results suggest that Gabapentin selectively inhibits Ca(2+) influx by inhibiting VOCCs in a subset of excitatory and inhibitory presynaptic terminals, thereby attenuating synaptic transmission.

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