Pregnenolone sulfate increases the convulsant potency of N-methyl-D-aspartate in mice

Eur J Pharmacol. 1992 Sep 4;219(3):477-9. doi: 10.1016/0014-2999(92)90493-n.


The neurosteroid pregnenolone sulfate is known to specifically enhance NMDA-gated currents in spinal cord neurons. The response does not appear to be mediated by the glycine/NMDA modulatory site. Here we found that pregnenolone sulfate significantly increased the convulsant potency of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), but not of pentylenetetrazol (PTZ). In agreement with previous in vitro reports showing that the glutamergic NMDA receptor is also specifically modulated by steroids, our findings suggest that pregnenolone sulfate selectively activates the NMDA receptors involved in convulsions in the intact animal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Synergism
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Male
  • Mice
  • N-Methylaspartate / administration & dosage
  • N-Methylaspartate / pharmacology*
  • Pentylenetetrazole / administration & dosage
  • Pentylenetetrazole / pharmacology
  • Pregnenolone / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / drug effects
  • Seizures / chemically induced*


  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • pregnenolone sulfate
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Pregnenolone
  • Pentylenetetrazole