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Mol Pharmacol 2003 Sep 01;643:753-63. doi: 10.1124/mol.64.3.753.
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Receptor subtype-dependent positive and negative modulation of GABA(A) receptor function by niflumic acid, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

Sinkkonen ST , Mansikkamäki S , Möykkynen T , Lüddens H , Uusi-Oukari M , Korpi ER .

In addition to blocking cyclooxygenases, members of the fenamate group of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been proposed to affect brain GABAA receptors. Using quantitative autoradiography with GABAA receptor-associated ionophore ligand [35S]t-butylbicyclophosphorothionate (TBPS) on rat brain sections, one of the fenamates, niflumate, at micromolar concentration was found to potentiate GABA actions in most brain areas, whereas being in the cerebellar granule cell layer an efficient antagonist similar to furosemide. With recombinant GABAA receptors expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes, we found that niflumate potentiated 3 microM GABA responses up to 160% and shifted the GABA concentration-response curve to the left in alpha1beta2gamma2 receptors, the predominant GABAA receptor subtype in the brain. This effect needed the gamma2 subunit, because on alpha1beta2 receptors, niflumate exhibited solely an antagonistic effect at high concentrations. The potentiation was not abolished by the specific benzodiazepine site antagonist flumazenil. Niflumate acted as a potent antagonist of alpha6beta2 receptors (with or without gamma2 subunit) and of alphaXbeta2gamma2 receptors containing a chimeric alpha1 to alpha6 subunit, which suggests that niflumate antagonism is dependent on the same transmembrane domain 1- and 2-including fragment of the alpha6 subunit as furosemide antagonism. This antagonism was noncompetitive because the maximal GABA response, but not the potency, was reduced by niflumate. These data show receptor subtype-dependent positive and negative modulatory actions of niflumate on GABAA receptors at clinically relevant concentrations, and they suggest the existence of a novel positive modulatory site on alpha1beta2gamma2 receptors that is dependent on the gamma2 subunit but not associated with the benzodiazepine binding site.

PubMed ID: 12920213
Article link: Mol Pharmacol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: gabarap