Topiramate reduces excitability in the basolateral amygdala by selectively inhibiting GluK1 (GluR5) kainate receptors on interneurons and positively modulating GABAA receptors on principal neurons

Maria F M Braga, Vassiliki Aroniadou-Anderjaska, He Li, Michael A Rogawski

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40 Scopus citations


Topiramate [2,3:4,5-bis-O-(1-methylethylidene)-β-D-fructopyranose sulfamate] is a structurally novel antiepileptic drug that has broad efficacy in epilepsy, but the mechanisms underlying its therapeutic activity are not fully understood. We have found that topiramate selectively inhibits GluK1 (GluR5) kainate receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic responses in rat basolateral amygdala (BLA) principal neurons and protects against seizures induced by the GluK1 kainate receptor agonist (R,S)-2-amino-3-(3-hydroxy-5-tert-butylisoxazol- 4-yl)propanoic acid (ATPA). Here, we demonstrate that topiramate also modulates inhibitory function in the BLA. Using whole-cell recordings in rat amygdala slices, we found that 0.3 to 10 μM topiramate 1) inhibited ATPA-evoked postsynaptic currents recorded from BLA interneurons; 2) suppressed ATPA-induced enhancement of spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) recorded from BLA pyramidal cells; and 3) blocked ATPA-induced suppression of evoked IPSCs, which is mediated by presynaptic GluK1 kainate receptors present on BLA interneurons. Topiramate (10 μM) had no effect on the AMPA [(R,S)-α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid]-induced enhancement of spontaneous activity of BLA neurons. Thus, although topiramate inhibits GluK1 kainate receptor-mediated enhancement of interneuron firing, it promotes evoked GABA release, leading to a net inhibition of circuit excitability. In addition, we found that topiramate (0.3-10 μM) increased the amplitude of evoked, spontaneous, and miniature IPSCs in BLA pyramidal neurons, indicating an enhancement of postsynaptic GABAA receptor responses. Taken together with our previous findings, we conclude that topiramate protects against hyperexcitability in the BLA by suppressing the GluK1 kainate receptor-mediated excitation of principal neurons by glutamatergic afferents, blocking the suppression of GABA release from interneurons mediated by presynaptic GluK1 kainate receptors and directly enhancing GABAA receptor-mediated inhibitory currents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)558-566
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Molecular Medicine

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