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Excitant Amino Acids in Epilepsy

  • C. L. Faingold
  • B. S. Meldrum

Abstract

In recent years, the excitant amino acids (EAAs), including glutamate and aspartate, have been widely recognized as important neurotransmitter candidates in many brain regions (see Hicks et al., 1987; Cavalheiro et al., 1988). It has also become increasingly obvious that these EAAs may also play an important role in pathological conditions in the central nervous system (CNS). A considerable amount and diversity of evidence has been obtained to support the involvement of EAAs in epilepsy (see Schwarcz and Ben-Ari, 1986; Meldrum, 1986a). The EAAs greatly excite most CNS neurons (see McLennan, 1987) and are currently implicated as the major fast transmitters of the brain (Cotman and Iversen, 1987). Epileptiform seizures can be produced when an EAA is administered systemically or directly into the brain (Hayashi, 1952; Nadler et al., 1986). Activation of one class of EAA receptors (NMDA receptors) results in a neuronal firing pattern that is similar to the paroxysmal depolarizing shift reported in experimental and human focal epilepsy (Peet et al., 1987), and altered EAA receptors have been reported in human epileptic tissue (Geddes et al., 1987). Excitant amino acid antagonists block seizures when they are administered systematically or directly into the brain in animal models of epilepsy (Chapman et al., 1987a,b; Meldrum, 1986b; Patel et al., 1986). An increase in EAA content and release is observed in certain epilepsy models and recently in human epileptic brain (Peterson et al., 1984; Chapman et al., 1986; Kish et al., 1988). Following sustained seizures, neuronal damage is produced through an excitotoxic action thought to involve the entry of excess calcium into neurons (Meldrum, 1986c; Olney, 1987; Rothman and Olney, 1987). Neuronal damage is also seen clinically as a result of repetitive seizures both clinically and experimentally (Ward, 1986).

Keywords

Excitant Amino Acid Inferior Colliculus Audiogenic Seizure Excitant Amino Acid Receptor Inferior Colliculus Neuron 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Birkhäuser Boston, Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. L. Faingold
  • B. S. Meldrum

There are no affiliations available

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