Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

The loop diuretic torasemide but not azosemide potentiates the anti-seizure and disease-modifying effects of midazolam in a rat model of birth asphyxia

Loop diuretics such as furosemide and bumetanide, which act by inhibiting the Na-K-2Cl cotransporter NKCC2 at the thick ascending limb of the loop of Henle, have been shown to exert anti-seizure effects. However, the exact mechanism of this effect is not known. For bumetanide, it has been suggested that inhibition of the NKCC isoform NKCC1 in the membrane of brain neurons may be involved; however, NKCC1 is expressed by virtually all cell types in the brain, which makes any specific targeting of neuronal NKCC1 by bumetanide impossible. In addition, bumetanide only poorly penetrates the brain. We have previously shown that loop diuretics azosemide and torasemide also potently inhibit NKCC1. In contrast to bumetanide and furosemide, azosemide and torasemide lack a carboxylic group, which should allow them to better penetrate through biomembranes by passive diffusion. Because of the urgent medical need to develop new treatments for neonatal seizures and their adverse outcome, we evaluated the effects of azosemide and torasemide, administered alone or in combination with phenobarbital or midazolam, in a rat model of birth asphyxia and neonatal seizures. Neither diuretic suppressed the seizures when administered alone but torasemide potentiated the anti-seizure effect of midazolam. Brain levels of torasemide were below those needed to inhibit NKCC1. In addition to suppressing seizures, the combination of torasemide and midazolam, but not midazolam alone, prevented the cognitive impairment of the post-asphyxial rats at 3 months after asphyxia. Furthermore, aberrant mossy fiber sprouting in the hippocampus was more effectively prevented by the combination. We assume that either an effect on NKCC1 at the blood-brain barrier and/or cells in the periphery or the NKCC2-mediated diuretic effect of torasemide are involved in the present findings. Our data suggest that torasemide may be a useful option for improving the treatment of neonatal seizures and their adverse outcome.

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