Epileptic seizures are common sequelae of stroke, acute brain injury, and chronic neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and cannot be effectively controlled in approximately 40% of patients, necessitating the development of novel therapeutic agents. Activation of the A1 receptor (A1R) by endogenous adenosine is an intrinsic mechanism to self-terminate seizures and protect neurons from excitotoxicity. However, targeting A1R for neurological disorders has been hindered by side effects associated with its broad expression outside the nervous system. Here we aim to target the neural-specific A1R/neurabin/regulator of G protein signaling 4 (A1R/neurabin/RGS4) complex that dictates A1R signaling strength and response outcome in the brain. We developed a peptide that blocks the A1R-neurabin interaction to enhance A1R activity. Intracerebroventricular or i.n. administration of this peptide shows marked protection against kainate-induced seizures and neuronal death. Furthermore, in an AD mouse model with spontaneous seizures, nasal delivery of this blocking peptide reduces epileptic spike frequency. Significantly, the anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects of this peptide are achieved through enhanced A1R function in response to endogenous adenosine in the brain, thus, avoiding side effects associated with A1R activation in peripheral tissues and organs. Our study informs potentially new anti-seizure therapy applicable to epilepsy and other neurological illness with comorbid seizures.
Shalini Saggu, Yunjia Chen, Liping Chen, Diana Pizarro, Sandipan Pati, Wen Jing Law, Lori McMahon, Kai Jiao, Qin Wang