Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors and Epilepsy: State of the Art and Future Perspectives

Molecules. 2021 Oct 22;26(21):6380. doi: 10.3390/molecules26216380.


Carbonic anhydrases (CAs) are a group of ubiquitously expressed metalloenzymes that catalyze the reversible hydration/dehydration of CO2/HCO3. Thus, they are involved in those physiological and pathological processes in which cellular pH buffering plays a relevant role. The inhibition of CAs has pharmacologic applications for several diseases. In addition to the well-known employment of CA inhibitors (CAIs) as diuretics and antiglaucoma drugs, it has recently been demonstrated that CAIs could be considered as valid therapeutic agents against obesity, cancer, kidney dysfunction, migraine, Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy. Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder that dramatically affects people of all ages. It is characterized by spontaneous recurrent seizures that are related to a rapid change in ionic composition, including an increase in intracellular potassium concentration and pH shifts. It has been reported that CAs II, VII and XIV are implicated in epilepsy. In this context, selective CAIs towards the mentioned isoforms (CAs II, VII and XIV) have been proposed and actually exploited as anticonvulsants agents in the treatment of epilepsy. Here, we describe the research achievements published on CAIs, focusing on those clinically used as anticonvulsants. In particular, we examine the new CAIs currently under development that might represent novel therapeutic options for the treatment of epilepsy.

Keywords: CA II; CA VII; CA XIV; CA inhibitors (CAIs); carbonic anhydrases (CAs); epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Carbonic Anhydrases / chemistry
  • Carbonic Anhydrases / genetics
  • Carbonic Anhydrases / metabolism
  • Catalysis
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Disease Management
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Drug Design
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Epilepsy / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Binding
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors
  • Isoenzymes
  • Carbonic Anhydrases