Neurosteroid-sensitive δ-GABAA receptors: A role in epileptogenesis?

Suchitra Joshi, Karthik Rajasekaran, John Williamson, Jaideep Kapur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective: We determined the role of the neurosteroid-sensitive δ subunit–containing γ-aminobutyric acid A receptors (δ-GABARs) in epileptogenesis. Methods: Status epilepticus (SE) was induced via lithium pilocarpine in adult rats, and seizures were assessed by continuous video–electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring. Finasteride was administered to inhibit neurosteroid synthesis. The total and surface protein expression of hippocampal δ, α4, and γ2 GABAR subunits was studied using biotinylation assays and Western blotting. Neurosteroid potentiation of the tonic currents of dentate granule cells (DGCs) was measured by whole-cell patch-clamp technique. Finally, the effects of inhibiting N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) during SE on the long-term plasticity of δ-GABARs, neurosteroid-induced modulation of tonic current, and epileptogenesis were studied. Results: The inhibition of neurosteroid synthesis 4 days after SE triggered acute seizures and accelerated the onset of chronic recurrent spontaneous seizures (epilepsy). The down-regulation of neurosteroid-sensitive δ-GABARs occurred prior to the onset of epilepsy, whereas an increased expression of the γ2-GABAR subunits occurred after seizure onset. MK801 blockade of NMDARs during SE preserved the expression of neurosteroid-sensitive δ-GABARs. NMDAR blockade during SE also prevented the onset of spontaneous seizures. Significance: Changes in neurosteroid-sensitive δ-GABAR expression correlated temporally with epileptogenesis. These findings raise the possibility that δ-GABAR plasticity may play a role in epileptogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-504
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Epileptogenesis
  • MK-801
  • Neurosteroids
  • Tonic current
  • δ Subunit–containing GABARs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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