Experimental models for the discovery of novel anticonvulsant drugs: Focus on pentylenetetrazole-induced seizures and associated memory deficits

Alaa Alachkar, Shreesh K. Ojha, Adel Sadeq, Abdu Adem, Annika Frank, Holger Stark, Bassem Sadek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by irregular, excessive neuronal excitability, and recurrent seizures that affect millions of patients worldwide. Currently, accessible antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) do not adequately support all epilepsy patients, with around 30% patients not responding to the existing therapies. As lifelong epilepsy treatment is essential, the search for new and more effective AEDs with an enhanced safety profile is a significant therapeutic goal. Seizures are a combination of electrical and behavioral events that can induce biochemical, molecular, and anatomic changes. Therefore, appropriate animal models are required to evaluate novel potential AEDs. Among the large number of available animal models of seizures, the acute penty-lenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced myoclonic seizure model is the most widely used model assessing the anticonvulsant effect of prospective AEDs, whereas chronic PTZ-kindled seizure models represent chronic models in which the repeated administration of PTZ at subconvulsive doses leads to the intensification of seizure activity or enhanced seizure susceptibility similar to that in human epilepsy. In this review, we summarized the memory deficits ac-companying acute or chronic PTZ seizure models and how these deficits were evaluated applying several behavioral animal models. Furthermore, major advantages and limitations of the PTZ seizure models in the discovery of new AEDs were highlighted. With a focus on PTZ seizures, the major biochemicals, as well as morphological alterations and the modulated brain neurotransmitter levels associated with memory deficits have been illustrated. Moreover, numerous medicinal compounds with concurrent anticonvulsant, procognitive, antioxidant effects, modulating effects on several brain neurotransmitters in rodents, and several newly developed classes of compounds applying computer-aided drug design (CADD) have been under development as potential AEDs. The article details the in-silico approach following CADD, which can be utilized for generating libraries of novel compounds for AED discovery. Additionally, in vivo studies could be useful in demonstrating efficacy, safety, and novel mode of action of AEDs for further clinical development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1693-1711
Number of pages19
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Acute
  • Anticonvulsant agents
  • Chronic
  • Computer-aided drug design
  • Memory deficits
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Oxidative stress
  • Pentylenetetrazole
  • Rodent
  • Seizure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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