The SV2A ligand levetiracetam inhibits presynaptic Ca2+ channels via an intracellular pathway
Vogl, C., Mochida, S., Wolff, C., Whalley, B. and Stephens, G. (2012) The SV2A ligand levetiracetam inhibits presynaptic Ca2+ channels via an intracellular pathway. Molecular Pharmacology, 82 (2). pp. 199-208. ISSN 1521-0111
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1124/mol.111.076687
Levetiracetam (LEV) is a prominent antiepileptic drug (AED) which binds to neuronal synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A) protein and has reported effects on ion channels, but retains a poorly-defined mechanism of action. Here, we investigate inhibition of voltage-dependent Ca2+ (CaV) channels as a potential mechanism by which LEV imparts effects on neuronal activity. We used electrophysiological methods to investigate the effects of LEV on cholinergic synaptic transmission and CaV channel activity in superior cervical ganglion neurons (SCGNs). In parallel, we investigated effects of the LEV ‘inactive’ R-enantiomer, UCB L060. Thus, LEV, but not UCB L060 (each 100 μM), inhibited synaptic transmission between SCGNs in long-term culture in a time-dependent manner, significantly reducing excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSP) following ≥30 min application. In isolated SCGNs, LEV pretreatment (≥1 h), but not acute (5 min) application, significantly inhibited whole-cell IBa amplitude. In current clamp recordings, LEV reduced the amplitude of the afterhyperpolarizing potential (AHP) in a Ca2+-dependent manner, but also increased action potential (AP) latency in a Ca2+-independent manner, suggesting further mechanisms associated with reduced excitability. Intracellular LEV application (4-5 min) caused a rapid inhibition of IBa amplitude to an extent comparable to that seen following extracellular LEV pretreatment ( ≥ 1 h). Neither pretreatment nor intracellular application of UCB L060 produced any inhibitory effects on IBa amplitude. These results identify a stereospecific intracellular pathway by which LEV inhibits presynaptic CaV channels; resultant reductions in neuronal excitability are proposed to contribute to the anticonvulsant effects of LEV.