, Volume 355, Issue 2, pp 273-280

Inhibition of rat hippocampal excitability by the plant alkaloid 3-acetylaconitine mediated by interaction with voltage-dependent sodium channels

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The effects of the Aconitum alkaloid 3-acetylaconitine on neuronal activity were investigated in the slice preparation and on cultivated neurons of rat hippocampus by extracellular and patch-clamp recordings, respectively. 3-Acetylaconitine (0.01–1 μM) diminished the orthodromic and antidromic population spike in a concentration-dependent manner. The inhibitory action of the drug was preceded by a transiently enhanced excitability. The latency of onset of the inhibition was accelerated by increased stimulation frequency, whereas recovery during washout of the alkaloid was accelerated by decreased stimulation frequency. Moreover, the inhibitory effect of 3-acetylaconitine was evaluated in two different models of epileptiform activity induced either by blockade of GABA receptors by bicuculline (10 μM) or by a nominal Mg2+-free bathing medium. In accordance with the activity-dependent mode of action, this compound abolished the synaptically evoked population spikes in the presence of bicuculline or nominal Mg2+-free bathing medium, respectively. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings revealed an interaction of 3-acetylaconitine with the voltage-dependent sodium channel. At a concentration of 1 μM, 3-acetylaconitine did not affect the peak amplitude of the sodium current, but shifted the current-voltage relationship in the hyperpolarized direction such that sodium currents were already activated at the resting potential.

Received: 22 July 1996 / Accepted: 14 October 1996