Anticonvulsant activity of artificial sweeteners: a structural link between sweet-taste receptor T1R3 and brain glutamate receptors.
ABSTRACT A virtual screening campaign based on application of a topological discriminant function capable of identifying novel anticonvulsant agents indicated several widely-used artificial sweeteners as potential anticonvulsant candidates. Acesulfame potassium, cyclamate and saccharin were tested in the Maximal Electroshock Seizure model (mice, ip), showing moderate anticonvulsant activity. We hypothesized a probable structural link between the receptor responsible of sweet taste and anticonvulsant molecular targets. Bioinformatic tools confirmed a highly significant sequence-similarity between taste-related protein T1R3 and several metabotropic glutamate receptors from different species, including glutamate receptors upregulated in epileptogenesis and certain types of epilepsy.