The effects of the non-competitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonists, (+)-MK-801 hydrogen maleate (MK-801) and phencyclidine hydrochloride (PCP), were tested against hypoxia-induccd tonic convulsions and hippocampal epileptiform discharges. Systemic administration of MK-801 and PCP suppressed the hypoxia-induecd tonic convulsions in dietary Mg2+-deficient mice in a dose-dependent manner. The ED50 values (and their 95% confidence limits) of MK-801 and PCP were 0.19 (0.14-0.26) and 1.14 (0.32-4.11) μmol/kg, respectively. These values were lower than those of the conventional anticonvulsants tested. Induction of epileptiform discharges following hypoxia was also prevented by the presence of MK-801 and PCP at concentrations of 5-30 μM. The hypoxia-induced epileptiform discharges, however, were reduced, but not blocked completely, by the application of MK-801 and PCP. These results strongly suggest that activation of NMDA receptors in the hippocampus plays a pivotal role in the induction of hypoxia-induced tonic convulsions in dietary Mg2+-deficient mice.
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