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Sodium Channel Blockers as Therapeutic Target for Treating Epilepsy: Recent Updates

[ Vol. 12 , Issue. 9 ]


Valentina Zuliani, Marco Fantini and Mirko Rivara   Pages 962 - 970 ( 9 )


The voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) are a family of membrane proteins forming a pore, through which they selectively conduct sodium ions inward and outward cell’s plasma membranes in response to variations of membrane potentials, playing a fundamental role in controlling cellular excitability. Growing evidences suggest that abnormal VGSCs are involved in the pathophysiology of both acquired and inherited epilepsy. Approximately two dozen drugs are currently marketed for the treatment of epilepsy and most of them act as sodium channel blockers, preventing the return of the channels to the active state by stabilizing the inactive form. Despite the many drugs on the market, 30% of patients continue to experience seizures even in the presence of optimal doses of AEDs, while others continue to suffer from medication induced side effects. Thus, there is a great need to continue the search for new AEDs that are not only more effective, but also have a better side effects profile. For this reason, many efforts have been made in the recent years to identify new sodium channel blockers for the treatment of epilepsy. These studies have led to different classes of compounds, characterized by a great structural diversity. The aim of this review is to provide an introduction on the structure and function of the sodium channels, followed by a brief historical perspective on the sodium channel blockers in use as anticonvulsant drugs. Moreover, it will focus on the medicinal chemistry of the sodium channel blockers recently published (2008-2011) and the drug design/molecular modeling studies related to the receptor.


Anticonvulsant drugs, benzodiazepinones, CoMFA, diarylimidazoles, epilepsy, sodium channel blockers


V.le G.P. Usberti 27/A, I-43124 Parma - Italy.

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