Article

Pregabalin reduces the release of synaptic vesicles from cultured hippocampal neurons

Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
Molecular Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 4.12). 09/2006; 70(2):467-76. DOI: 10.1124/mol.106.023309
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Pregabalin [S-[+]-3-isobutylGABA or (S)-3-(aminomethyl)-5-methylhexanoic acid, Lyrica] is an anticonvulsant and analgesic medication that is both structurally and pharmacologically related to gabapentin (Neurontin; Pfizer Inc., New York, NY). Previous studies have shown that pregabalin reduces the release of neurotransmitters in several in vitro preparations, although the molecular details of these effects are less clear. The present study was performed using living cultured rat hippocampal neurons with the synaptic vesicle fluorescent dye probe FM4-64 to determine details of the action of pregabalin to reduce neurotransmitter release. Our results indicate that pregabalin treatment, at concentrations that are therapeutically relevant, slightly but significantly reduces the emptying of neurotransmitter vesicles from presynaptic sites in living neurons. Dye release is reduced in both glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)-immunoreactive and GAD-negative (presumed glutamatergic) synaptic terminals. Furthermore, both calcium-dependent release and hyperosmotic (calcium-independent) dye release are reduced by pregabalin. The effects of pregabalin on dye release are masked in the presence of l-isoleucine, consistent with the fact that both of these compounds have a high binding affinity to the calcium channel alpha(2)-delta protein. The effect of pregabalin is not apparent in the presence of an N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist [D(-)-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid], suggesting that pregabalin action depends on NMDA receptor activation. Finally, the action of pregabalin on dye release is most apparent before and early during a train of electrical stimuli when vesicle release preferentially involves the readily releasable pool.

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