The sodium channel activator Lu AE98134 normalizes the altered firing properties of fast spiking interneurons in Dlx5/6+/− mice
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Mental disorders such as schizophrenia are associated with impaired firing properties of fast spiking inhibitory interneurons (FSINs) causing reduced task-evoked gamma-oscillation in prefrontal cortex. The voltage-gated sodium channel NaV1.1 is highly expressed in PV-positive interneurons, but only at low levels in principal cells. Positive modulators of NaV1.1 channels are for this reason considered potential candidates for the treatment of cognitive disorders. Here we examined the effect of the novel positive modulator of voltage-gated sodium channels Lu AE98134. We found that Lu AE98134 facilitated the sodium current mediated by NaV1.1 expressed in HEK cells by shifting its activation to more negative values, decreasing its inactivation kinetics and promoting a persistent inward current. In a slice preparation from the brain of adult mice, Lu AE98134 promoted the excitability of fast spiking interneurons by decreasing the threshold for action potentials. We then tested if Lu AE98134 could normalize the altered firing properties of FSINs in Dlx5/6+/− mutant mice. FSINs of this model for schizophrenia are characterized by broader action potentials and higher spike threshold. We found that in the presence of Lu AE98134, the firing frequency was increased while the spike duration and the threshold were decreased. Compounds with similar mode of action appear as promising candidates for restoring cognitive deficits present in schizophrenia.