The actions of convulsant and sedative barbiturates on responses to γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) application and on inhibitory postsynaptic currents were compared using voltage-clamp techniques in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. The convulsant barbiturates, 5-ethyl-5-(3-methylbut-2-enyl) barbituric acid (3M2B), and (+)-5-ethyl-5-(1,3-dimethylbutyl) barbituric acid ((+)-DMBB), and the sedative barbiturate, 5-ethyl-5-(3-methylbutyl) barbituric acid (3MB), all potentiated GABA-mediated chloride currents. In addition, these compounds prolonged the duration of GABAergic inhibitory postsynaptic currents. The similarity between the action of convulsant and sedative barbiturates suggests that the convulsant activity of 3M2B and (+)-DMBB are not mediated by their actions at GABAergic synapses.
- Inhibitory synapse
- γ-Aminobutyric acid