Transient use of a systemic adenosine kinase inhibitor attenuates epilepsy development in mice

Ursula S. Sandau, Mayadah Yahya, Ryan Bigej, Joseph L. Friedman, Bounmy Saleumvong, Detlev Boison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Objective: Over one-third of all patients with epilepsy are refractory to treatment and there is an urgent need to develop new drugs that can prevent the development and progression of epilepsy. Epileptogenesis is characterized by distinct histopathologic and biochemical changes, which include astrogliosis and increased expression of the adenosine-metabolizing enzyme adenosine kinase (ADK; EC Increased expression of ADK contributes to epileptogenesis and is therefore a target for therapeutic intervention. We tested the prediction that the transient use of an ADK inhibitor administered during the latent phase of epileptogenesis can mitigate the development of epilepsy. Methods: We used the intrahippocampal kainic acid (KA) mouse model of temporal lobe epilepsy, which is characterized by ipsilateral hippocampal sclerosis with granule cell dispersion and the development of recurrent hippocampal paroxysmal discharges (HPDs). KA-injected mice were treated with the ADK inhibitor 5-iodotubercidin (5-ITU, 1.6 mg/kg, b.i.d., i.p.) during the latent phase of epileptogenesis from day 3-8 after injury; the period when gradual increases in hippocampal ADK expression begin to manifest. HPDs were assessed at 6 and 9 weeks after KA administration followed by epilepsy histopathology including assessment of granule cell dispersion, astrogliosis, and ADK expression. Results: 5-ITU significantly reduced the percent time in seizures by at least 80% in 56% of mice at 6 weeks post-KA. This reduction in seizure activity was maintained in 40% of 5-ITU–treated mice at 9 weeks. 5-ITU also suppressed granule cell dispersion and prevented maladaptive ADK increases in these protected mice. Significance: Our results show that the transient use of a small-molecule ADK inhibitor, given during the early stages of epileptogenesis, has antiepileptogenic disease-modifying properties, which provides the rationale for further investigation into the development of a novel class of antiepileptogenic ADK inhibitors with increased efficacy for epilepsy prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-625
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


  • adenosine kinase
  • adenosine kinase inhibitor
  • disease modification
  • epileptogenesis
  • hippocampus


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