Activity-dependent depression of nerve action potential by phenytoin

Gaby David, Michael E. Selzer, Yoel Yaari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The action of the anticonvulsant drug phenytoin was investigated on the responsiveness of isolated amphibian and human nerves to repetitive stimulation. At low frequencies of stimulation (0.5-25 Hz) the drug (at a concentration of 0.1 mM) had no notable effect on the compound nerve action potential. By contrast, at higher rates of stimulation (50-300 Hz), it produced a progressive decrease in amplitude and integral of the compound action potential. This effect was positively correlated with the frequency of nerve activation and was markedly enhanced by elevating the extracellular K+ concentration. Thus, phenytoin induces a use- and frequency-dependent depression of axon conduction, which may contribute to its preferential suppression of the spread of high-frequency seizure discharge in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 15 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • antiepileptic drug
  • frequency-dependence-action potential
  • frog
  • phenytoin
  • sciatic nerve
  • use-dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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