Xu, TL (reprint author), Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Neurosci, State Key Lab Neurosci, 320 Yue-Yang Rd, Shanghai 200031, Peoples R China,email@example.com
Salicylate is the major metabolite and active component of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), which is widely used in clinical medicine for treating inflammation, pain syndromes and cardiovascular disorders. The well-known mechanism underlying salicylate's action mainly involves the inhibition of cyclooxygenase and subsequent decrease in prostaglandin production. Recent evidence suggests that salicylate also affects neuronal function through interaction with specific membrane channels/receptors. However, the effect of salicylate on synaptic and neural network function remains largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the effect of sodium salicylate on the synaptic transmission and neuronal excitation in the hippocampal CA1 area of rats, a key structure for many complex brain functions. With electrophysiological recordings in hippocampal slices, we found that sodium salicylate significantly enhanced neuronal excitation through reducing inhibitory GABAergic transmission without affecting the basal excitatory synaptic transmission. Salicylate significantly inhibited the amplitudes of both evoked and miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents, and directly reduced gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA(A)) receptor-mediated responses in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. Together, our results suggest that the widely used aspirin might impair hippocampal synaptic and neural network functions through its actions on GABAergic neurotransmission. Given the capability of aspirin to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, the present data imply that aspirin intake may cause network hyperactivity and be potentially harmful in susceptible subpopulations. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.