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    Theta oscillations generated in hippocampal (HPC) and cortical neuronal networks are involved in various aspects of brain function, including sensorimotor integration, movement planning, memory formation and attention. Disruptions of theta rhythms are present in individuals with brain disorders, including epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease. Theta rhythm generation involves a specific interplay between cellular (ion channel) and network (synaptic) mechanisms. HCN channels are theta modulators, and several medications are known to enhance their activity. We investigated how different doses of lamotrigine (LTG), an HCN channel modulator, and antiepileptic and neuroprotective agent, would affect HPC theta rhythms in acute HPC slices (in vitro) and anaesthetized rats (in vivo). Whole-cell patch clamp recordings revealed that LTG decreased GABAA-fast transmission in CA3 cells, in vitro. In addition, LTG directly depressed CA3 and CA1 pyramidal neuron excitability. These effects were partially blocked by ZD 7288, a selective HCN blocker, and are consistent with decreased excitability associated with antiepileptic actions. Lamotrigine depressed HPC theta oscillations in vitro, also consistent with its neuronal depressant effects. In contrast, it exerted an opposite, enhancing effect, on theta recorded in vivo. The contradictory in vivo and in vitro results indicate that LTG increases ascending theta activating medial septum/entorhinal synaptic inputs that over-power the depressant effects seen in HPC neurons. These results provide new insights into LTG actions and indicate an opportunity to develop more precise therapeutics for the treatment of dementias, memory disorders and epilepsy.


    Paulina Kazmierska-Grebowska, Marcin Siwiec, Joanna Ewa Sowa, Bartosz Caban, Tomasz Kowalczyk, Renata Bocian, M Bruce MacIver. Lamotrigine Attenuates Neuronal Excitability, Depresses GABA Synaptic Inhibition, and Modulates Theta Rhythms in Rat Hippocampus. International journal of molecular sciences. 2021 Dec 19;22(24)

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    PMID: 34948401

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