Anti-epileptic effects of FABP3 ligand MF1 through the benzodiazepine recognition site of the GABAA receptor

Yasushi Yabuki, Jiaqi Liu, Ichiro Kawahata, Hisanao Izumi, Yasuharu Shinoda, Kohei Koga, Shinya Ueno, Norifumi Shioda, Kohji Fukunaga

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Recently, we developed the fatty acid-binding protein 3 (FABP3) ligand MF1 (4-(2-(1-(2-chlorophenyl)-5-phenyl-1H-pyrazol-3-yl)phenoxy) butanoic acid) as a therapeutic candidate for α-synucleinopathies. MF1 shows affinity towards γ-aminobutyric acid type-A (GABAA) receptor, but its effect on the receptor remains unclear. Here, we investigate the pharmacological properties of MF1 on the GABAA receptor overexpressed in Neuro2A cells. While MF1 (1–100 µm) alone failed to evoke GABA currents, MF1 (1 µm) promoted GABA currents during GABA exposure (1 and 10 µm). MF1-promoted GABA currents were blocked by flumazenil (10 µm) treatment, suggesting that MF1 enhances receptor function via the benzodiazepine recognition site. Acute and chronic administration of MF1 (0.1, 0.3 and 1.0 mg/kg, p.o.) significantly attenuated status epilepticus (SE) and the mortality rate in pilocarpine (PILO: 300 mg/kg, i.p.)-treated mice, similar to diazepam (DZP: 5.0 mg/kg, i.p.). The anti-epileptic effects of DZP (5.0 mg/kg, i.p.) and MF1 (0.3 mg/kg, p.o.) were completely abolished by flumazenil (25 mg/kg, i.p.) treatment. Pentylenetetrazol (PTZ: 90 mg/kg, i.p.)-induced seizures in mice were suppressed by DZP (5.0 mg/kg, i.p.), but not MF1. Collectively, this suggests that MF1 is a mild enhancer of the GABAA receptor and exercises anti-epileptic effects through the receptor’s benzodiazepine recognition site in PILO-induced SE models.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5525
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug 1


  • Anti-epileptic effect
  • Benzodiazepine recognition site
  • GABA receptor


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