SKF83959 Attenuates Memory Impairment and Depressive-like Behavior during the Latent Period of Epilepsy via Allosteric Activation of the Sigma-1 Receptor

ACS Chem Neurosci. 2022 Nov 16;13(22):3198-3209. doi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.2c00629. Epub 2022 Nov 4.


Memory impairment and emotional disorder are two common clinical comorbidities in patients with epilepsy. It is imperative to develop a novel therapeutic agent or a strategy. 6-Chloro-7,8-dihydroxy-3-methyl-1-(3-methylphenyl)-2,3,4,5-tetrahydro-1H-3-benzazepine (SKF83959) is a dopamine-1 receptor agonist and sigma-1 receptor allosteric modulator, which displays the neuron-protective and anti-neuroinflammation activity. We examined the effect of SKF83959 on the memory impairment and emotional disorder in the latent period of epilepsy using the mice post-status epilepticus model. We found that SKF83959 ameliorated memory impairment and depressive-like mood, alleviated the neuron damage and the formation of gliosis in hippocampus, suppressed the rise of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β, and induced nitric oxide synthase in the latent period of epilepsy. Additionally, SKF83959 significantly inhibited the activity of calcineurin and glycogen synthase kinase-3β. All of these protective actions were reversed by BD1047 (a sigma-1 receptor antagonist). In addition, the intra-hippocampus injection of ketoconazole (a dehydroepiandrosterone synthesis inhibitor) also reversed the protective activity of SKF83959. Thus, we concluded that SKF83959 ameliorated the memory impairment and depressive-like mood in epilepsy via allosterically activating the sigma-1 receptor and subsequently inhibiting the calcineurin/glycogen synthase kinase-3β pathway.

Keywords: SKF83959; epilepsy; hippocampus injury; neuroinflammation; sigma-1 receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Regulation
  • Animals
  • Calcineurin*
  • Dopamine Agonists / pharmacology
  • Epilepsy* / drug therapy
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinases
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sigma-1 Receptor


  • SK&F 83959
  • Calcineurin
  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinases