Article

Inhibitory effects of tutin on glycine receptors in spinal neurons.

Department of Physiology, University of Concepcion, Chile.
European Journal of Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.59). 04/2007; 559(1):61-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2006.12.018
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We studied the effects of tutin, a sesquiterpenoid obtained from Coriaria ruscifolia subspecie ruscifolia, a native poisonous Chilean plant, on spinal glycine receptors using patch clamp recordings. In addition, cytosolic Ca(2+) transients and activation of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) were measured in the presence of tutin. Application of tutin (1-1000 microM) inhibited the glycinergic evoked current in a concentration-dependent manner. Moreover, the frequency of spontaneous Ca(2+) spikes and spontaneous synaptic activity (AMPAergic events) was augmented and correlated with an increase in phosphorylated CREB levels, suggesting an enhancement in neuronal excitability. These results may explain the toxic effects of the plant characterized by seizures and convulsions with subsequent coma and death seen in humans and mice.

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    ABSTRACT: In the present study we characterized the effects of the South American neurotoxin tutin on recombinant glycine receptors (GlyR) expressed in HEK 293 cells using whole-cell patch-clamp techniques. Tutin induced a concentration-dependent inhibition of α(1) and α(2) homomeric GlyRs, with IC(50)s of 35 ± 1 and 15 ± 3 μM, respectively. The co-expression of αβ subunits reduced the potency of tutin, thus increasing the IC(50) to 51 ± 4 and 41 ± 8 μM for α(1)β and α(2)β GlyRs, respectively. The inhibitory effect of tutin was competitive, independent of membrane potential and reversible suggesting a pore independent site. On the other hand, low tutin concentrations enhanced the current, which was not synergic with Zn(2+) or ethanol. A mutation in Lys385 altered ethanol but not tutin sensitivity, suggesting different sites for modulation of α1-containing GlyRs. Our results suggest that tutin affects the GlyR by a mechanism distinct to that of picrotoxin and ethanol, and that the pharmacological profile of tutin exhibits a "Zn-like" behaviour. In conclusion, these results provide information on molecular mechanisms important for understanding the toxic effects of a recently discovered South American neurotoxin.
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