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Metabolic perturbations that decrease or limit blood glucose—such as fasting or adhering to a ketogenic diet—reduce epileptic seizures significantly. To date, the critical links between altered metabolism and decreased neuronal activity remain unknown. More generally, metabolic changes accompany numerous CNS disorders, and the purines ATP and its core molecule adenosine are poised to translate cell energy into altered neuronal activity. Here we show that nonpathological changes in metabolism induce a purinergic autoregulation of hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neuron excitability. During conditions of sufficient intracellular ATP, reducing extracellular glucose induces pannexin-1 hemichannel-mediated ATP release directly from CA3 neurons. This extracellular ATP is dephosphorylated to adenosine, activates neuronal adenosine A1 receptors, and, unexpectedly, hyperpolarizes neuronal membrane potential via ATP-sensitive K+ channels. Together, these data delineate an autocrine regulation of neuronal excitability via ATP and adenosine in a seizure-prone subregion of the hippocampus and offer new mechanistic insight into the relationship between decreased glucose and increased seizure threshold. By establishing neuronal ATP release via pannexin hemichannels, and hippocampal adenosine A1 receptors coupled to ATP-sensitive K+ channels, we reveal detailed information regarding the relationship between metabolism and neuronal activity and new strategies for adenosine-based therapies in the CNS.


Originally published in The Journal of Neuroscience, 17 March 2010, 30(11): 3886-3895; doi: 10.1523/​JNEUROSCI.0055-10.2010 . Provided by the Trinity College Digital Repository in accordance with the publisher's archiving policies.

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