Bis(7)-tacrine is a novel dimeric acetylcholinesterase inhibitor derived from tacrine that shows promise for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. We have previously reported that bis(7)-tacrine inhibits GABAA receptors. In the present study we investigated the mechanism of bis(7)-tacrine inhibition of GABAA receptor function using whole-cell patch-clamp recording in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. Bis(7)-tacrine produced a gradual decline of GABA-activated current to a steady-state, but this was not an indication of use-dependence, as the gradually declining component could be eliminated by exposure to bis(7)-tacrine prior to GABA application. In addition, bis(7)-tacrine inhibition did not require the presence of agonist, and GABA-activated current recovered completely from inhibition by bis(7)-tacrine in the absence of agonist. The slow onset of inhibition by bis(7)-tacrine was not apparently due to an action at an intracellular site, as inclusion of 25 μM bis(7)-tacrine in the recording pipette did not alter inhibition by bis(7)-tacrine applied externally. Bis(7)-tacrine shifted the GABA concentration-response curve to the right in a parallel manner and the pA2 value estimated from a Schild plot was 5.7. Bis(7)-tacrine increased the time constant of activation of GABA-gated ion channels without affecting the time constants of deactivation or desensitization. These results suggest that bis(7)-tacrine is a competitive GABAA receptor antagonist with slow onset and offset kinetics. The competitive inhibition of GABA receptors by bis(7)-tacrine could contribute to its ability to enhance memory.
- Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor
- Competitive inhibition
- GABA receptor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience