Aspects of cAMP Signaling in Epileptogenesis and Seizures and Its Potential as Drug Target

  • Christoffer Mertz
  • Sara Krarup
  • Cecilie D. Jensen
  • Sandy E. H. Lindholm
  • Christina Kjær
  • Lars H. Pinborg
  • Lasse K. BakEmail author


Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological conditions. Today, close to 30 different medications to prevent epileptic seizures are in use; yet, far from all patients become seizure free upon medical treatment. Thus, there is a need for new pharmacological approaches including novel drug targets for the management of epilepsy. Despite the fact that a role for cAMP signaling in epileptogenesis and seizures was first suggested some four decades ago, none of the current medications target the cAMP signaling system. The reasons for this are probably many including limited knowledge of the underlying biology and pathology as well as difficulties in designing selective drugs for the different components of the cAMP signaling system. This review explores selected aspects of cAMP signaling in the context of epileptogenesis and seizures including cAMP response element binding (CREB)-mediated transcriptional regulation. We discuss the therapeutic potential of targeting cAMP signaling in epilepsy and point to an increased knowledge of the A-kinase anchoring protein-based signaling hubs as being of seminal importance for future drug discovery within the field. Further, in terms of targeting CREB, we argue that targeting upstream cAMP signals might be more fruitful than targeting CREB itself. Finally, we point to astrocytes as cellular targets in epilepsy since cAMP signals may regulate astrocytic K+ clearance affecting neuronal excitability.


Epilepsy Seizure Epileptogenesis cAMP 



Funding were provided by Hørslev-Fonden (Grant No. 203866-MAS/mbs1), the Lundbeck Foundation via the Drug Research Academy at University of Copenhagen, Oda og Hans Svenningsens Fond (DK) and P. A. Messerschmidt og Hustrus Fond (DK).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Technology, Faculty of Health and TechnologyUniversity College CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Epilepsy Clinic & Neurobiology Research Unit, Copenhagen University HospitalUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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