, Volume 234, Issue 2, pp 281–291 | Cite as

Cytisine inhibits the protective activity of various classical and novel antiepileptic drugs against 6 Hz-induced psychomotor seizures in mice

  • Piotr TutkaEmail author
  • Maria W. Kondrat-Wróbel
  • Katarzyna Zaluska
  • Dorota Żółkowska
  • Magdalena Florek-Łuszczki
  • Jarogniew J. Łuszczki
Original Investigation



Cytisine (CYT) is a partial agonist of brain α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors widely used in Central/Eastern Europe for smoking cessation.


This study evaluated the effect of CYT on the ability of classical and novel antiepileptic drugs to prevent seizures evoked by the 6-Hz test, a model of psychomotor seizures in mice thought as a model of drug-resistant seizures.


CYT administered intraperitoneally (i.p.) in a dose of 2 mg kg−1 significantly inhibited the anticonvulsant activity of lacosamide, levetiracetam, and pregabalin, increasing their median effective doses 50 (ED50) values from 6.88 to 10.52 mg kg−1 (P < 0.05) for lacosamide, from 22.08 to 38.26 mg kg−1 (P < 0.05) for levetiracetam, and from 40.48 to 64.61 mg kg−1 (P < 0.01) for pregabalin, respectively. There were no significant changes in total brain concentrations of lacosamide, levetiracetam, and pregabalin following CYT i.p. administration. CYT administered in a dose of 2 mg kg−1 failed to change the protective action of clobazam, clonazepam, phenobarbital, tiagabine, and valproate in the 6-Hz test. Neither CYT (2 mg kg−1) alone nor its combination with the anticonvulsant drugs (at their ED50 values from the 6-Hz test) affected motor coordination; skeletal muscular strength and long-term memory, as determined in the chimney; and grip strength and passive avoidance tests, respectively.


CYT-evoked alterations in the protection provided by some antiepileptic drugs against seizures can be of serious concern for epileptic smokers, who might demonstrate therapeutic failure to lacosamide, levetiracetam, and pregabalin, resulting in possible breakthrough seizure attacks.


Cytisine Epilepsy Psychomotor seizures Smoking cessation 



This study was supported by a research grant from the University of Rzeszów (Rzeszów, Poland) (DS/2014, DS/2015). The authors express their thanks to Dr. G. Raszewski (Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland) for the skillful determination of the brain concentrations of antiepileptic drugs.

Compliance with ethical standards

The experimental procedures listed were approved by the Second Local Ethics Committee at the University of Life Sciences in Lublin (license nos. 88/2012 and 61/2014) and conformed to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

Conflict of interest

Prof. P Tutka has undertaken paid consultancy for Aflofarm, a manufacturer of CYT. Prof. JJ Luszczki has been involved in the design and development of new antiepileptics and CNS drugs. Additionally, within the last 5 years, he has received an unrestricted research grant from GlaxoSmithKline (Brentford, UK). The remaining authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Piotr Tutka
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Maria W. Kondrat-Wróbel
    • 3
  • Katarzyna Zaluska
    • 3
  • Dorota Żółkowska
    • 4
  • Magdalena Florek-Łuszczki
    • 5
  • Jarogniew J. Łuszczki
    • 3
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of RzeszówRzeszówPoland
  2. 2.Centre for Innovative Research in Medical and Natural SciencesUniversity of RzeszówRzeszówPoland
  3. 3.Department of PathophysiologyMedical University of LublinLublinPoland
  4. 4.Department of Neurology, School of MedicineUniversity of California–DavisSacramentoUSA
  5. 5.Centre of Public Health and Health PromotionInstitute of Rural HealthLublinPoland
  6. 6.Isobolographic Analysis LaboratoryInstitute of Rural HealthLublinPoland

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