Regulation of epileptiform activity in hippocampus by nicotinic acetylcholine receptor activation

ArticleinEpilepsy Research 56(1):51-65 · October 2003with9 Reads
Impact Factor: 2.02 · DOI: 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2003.08.005 · Source: PubMed


    Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) regulate neuronal excitability within the CNS. To assess the possible modulatory influence of nAChRs on epileptiform activity, a range of nAChR ligands were applied during experimentally induced epileptiform activity in rat hippocampal slices. Bath application of the potassium channel blocker 4-aminopyridine (4AP; 10-50 microM) resulted in the development of spontaneous epileptiform bursting activity in area CA3 that consisted of short duration (257+/-15 ms) field events occurring regularly at a frequency of 0.4+/-0.02 Hz. Subsequent co-application of the selective nAChR agonists 1,1-dimethyl-4-phenyl-piperazinium iodide (DMPP; 0.3-300 microM), choline (0.01-3mM) and lobeline (3-30 microM) produced sustained and concentration-dependent increases in burst frequency with maximal frequency potentiation of 37+/-5%, 27+/-5% and 24+/-11%, respectively. DMPP (10-30 microM; n=31) also potentiated epileptiform bursting induced by reducing GABA(A) receptor-mediated synaptic transmission using 20 microM bicuculline or enhancing NMDA receptor-mediated excitation by lowering extracellular Mg(2+). Irrespective of the epileptiform model studied all nAChR agonist induced frequency potentiation was reversed upon washout of the agonist or co-application of one of the selective nAChR antagonists dihydro-beta-erythroidine (10-30 microM), mecamylamine (50-200 microM) or alpha-bungarotoxin (100 nM). These results provide compelling evidence that activation of nAChRs exacerbate epileptiform activity in the rat hippocampus.