Acute imidazenil treatment after the onset of DFP-induced seizure is more effective and longer lasting than midazolam at preventing seizure activity and brain neuropathology

Toxicol Sci. 2011 Mar;120(1):136-45. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfq356. Epub 2010 Nov 22.


Diazepam (DZ), the preferred anticonvulsant benzodiazepine (BZ) for the treatment of organophosphate (OP) nerve agent-induced seizures and neuronal damage, has been associated with unwanted effects such as sedation, amnesia, cardiorespiratory depression, anticonvulsant tolerance, and dependence liability. In a search for safer and more effective anticonvulsant BZs against OP-induced seizure and neuronal damage, we have previously shown that imidazenil (IMD), a low-intrinsic efficacy positive allosteric modulator of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) action at α1-containing GABA(A) receptors, which has high intrinsic efficacy at α2-, α3-, and α5-containing GABA(A) receptors, is more potent and longer lasting than DZ pretreatment at protecting rats from diisopropyl fluorophosphate (DFP)-induced electrocorticographic (ECoG) seizures and neuronal damage. The effects of IMD were observed at doses that are devoid of sedative, amnestic, and anticonvulsant tolerance actions. In the present study, we compared the anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects of a combination of atropine (2 mg/kg, ip) and pyridine-2-aldoxime methochloride (2-PAM, 20 mg/kg, ip) with IMD (0.5 mg/kg, ip) or midazolam (MDZ, 0.5-2 mg/kg, ip) administered after the onset of DFP (1.5 mg/kg, sc)-induced seizure activity. The severity of DFP-induced ECoG seizures was assessed by continuous radio telemetry recordings in unrestrained and freely moving rats. Furthermore, the extent of neuronal damage was evaluated using a neuron-specific nuclear protein immunolabeling and fluoro-jade B staining procedure. We report here that IMD is more efficacious and longer lasting than sedating doses of MDZ in protecting rats from DFP-induced ECoG seizures and neuronal damage.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Antigens, Nuclear / metabolism
  • Benzodiazepines / administration & dosage
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Imidazoles / administration & dosage
  • Imidazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Isoflurophate / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Midazolam / administration & dosage
  • Midazolam / therapeutic use*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Receptors, GABA / metabolism
  • Seizures / chemically induced
  • Seizures / pathology
  • Seizures / prevention & control*
  • Telemetry
  • Time Factors


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antigens, Nuclear
  • Imidazoles
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Rbfox3 protein, rat
  • Receptors, GABA
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Isoflurophate
  • imidazenil
  • Midazolam