Purpose: To assess the pharmacology of perampanel and its antiseizure activity in preclinical models. Perampanel [2-(2-oxo-1-phenyl-5-pyridin-2-yl-1,2-dihydropyridin-3-yl) benzonitrile] is a novel, orally active, prospective antiepileptic agent currently in development for refractory partial-onset seizures.
Methods: Perampanel pharmacology was assessed by examining changes in intracellular free Ca2+ ion concentration ([Ca2+]i) in primary rat cortical neurones, and [3H]perampanel binding to rat forebrain membranes. Antiseizure activity of orally administered perampanel was examined in amygdala-kindled rats and in mice exhibiting audiogenic, maximal electroshock (MES)–induced, pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) –induced, or 6 Hz-induced seizures.
Key Findings: In cultured rat cortical neurones, perampanel inhibited α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA)–induced increases in [Ca2+]i (IC50 93 nm vs. 2 μm AMPA). Perampanel had a minimal effect on N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)–induced increases in [Ca2+]i, and only at a high concentration (30 μm). [3H]Perampanel binding to rat forebrain membranes was not significantly displaced by glutamate or AMPA but was displaced by the noncompetitive AMPA receptor antagonists CP465022 (Ki 11.2 ± 0.8 nm) and GYKI52466 (Ki 12.4 ± 1 μm). In mice, perampanel showed protective effects against audiogenic, MES-induced, and PTZ-induced seizures (ED50s 0.47, 1.6, and 0.94 mg/kg, respectively). Perampanel also inhibited 6 Hz electroshock-induced seizures when administered alone or in combination with other antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). In amygdala-kindled rats, perampanel significantly increased afterdischarge threshold (p < 0.05 vs. vehicle), and significantly reduced motor seizure duration, afterdischarge duration, and seizure severity recorded at 50% higher intensity than afterdischarge threshold current (p < 0.05 for all measures vs. vehicle). Perampanel caused dose-dependent motor impairment in both mice (TD50 1.8 mg/kg) and rats (TD50 9.14 mg/kg), as determined by rotarod tests. In mice, the protective index (TD50 in rotarod test/ED50 in seizure test) was 1.1, 3.8, and 1.9 for MES-induced, audiogenic, and PTZ-induced seizures, respectively. In rat, dog, and monkey, perampanel had a half-life of 1.67, 5.34, and 7.55 h and bioavailability of 46.1%, 53.5%, and 74.5%, respectively.
Significance: These data suggest that perampanel is an orally active, noncompetitive, selective AMPA receptor antagonist with potential as a broad spectrum antiepileptic agent.