Sex differences in the anticonvulsant efficacy of phenytoin in amygdala-kindled rats

Brain Res. 1994 Feb 28;638(1-2):45-52. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(94)90631-9.


The anticonvulsant effects of phenytoin were compared in female and male amygdala-kindled rats. Phenytoin was administered at a dosage of 75 mg/kg i.p. and the threshold for induction of amygdaloid afterdischarges (ADT) was determined 1 h after drug application. This ADT determination was repeated three times in each animal at intervals of one week. For control of drug absorption, phenytoin was determined in plasma in each of the four drug trials. In a total of 104 drug trials in females and 78 trials in males, anticonvulsant responses (i.e. increases in ADT above pre-drug control) were found in 76% of trials in female rats but only 42% of trials in male rats, the difference being highly significant. Consistent responses to phenytoin (i.e. ADT increases of more than 100% in four consecutive trials) were found in 31% of the female rats but only 6% of the male rats. Twenty-four percent of the females but 58% of the males never responded to phenytoin with an ADT increase. About 50% of both female and male rats showed variable responses. Although plasma levels of phenytoin were slightly lower in male than in female rats, there was no significant difference in drug levels between phenytoin responders and nonresponders in both sexes, indicating that the sex difference in anticonvulsant efficacy of phenytoin was not due to differences in drug pharmacokinetics. This was substantiated by the finding that in experiments with anticonvulsant response, the phenytoin-induced ADT increases were similar in male and female rats.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / drug effects
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Female
  • Kindling, Neurologic / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Phenytoin / pharmacokinetics
  • Phenytoin / pharmacology*
  • Phenytoin / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Seizures / physiopathology
  • Seizures / prevention & control*
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Sex Factors


  • Phenytoin