Pharmacological inhibition of STriatal-Enriched protein tyrosine Phosphatase by TC-2153 reduces hippocampal excitability and seizure propensity

Jennifer M. Walters, Eung Chang Kim, Jiaren Zhang, Han Gil Jeong, Archit Bajaj, Brian C. Baculis, Gregory C. Tracy, Baher Ibrahim, Catherine A. Christian-Hinman, Daniel A. Llano, Graham R Huesmann, Hee Jung Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: STriatal-Enriched protein tyrosine Phosphatase (STEP) is a brain-specific tyrosine phosphatase. Membrane-bound STEP61 is the only isoform expressed in hippocampus and cortex. Genetic deletion of STEP enhances excitatory synaptic currents and long-term potentiation in the hippocampus. However, whether STEP61 affects seizure susceptibility is unclear. Here we investigated the effects of STEP inhibitor TC-2153 on seizure propensity in a murine model displaying kainic acid (KA)–induced status epilepticus and its effect on hippocampal excitability. Methods: Adult male and female C57BL/6J mice received intraperitoneal injection of either vehicle (2.8% dimethylsulfoxide [DMSO] in saline) or TC-2153 (10 mg/kg) and then either saline or KA (30 mg/kg) 3 h later before being monitored for behavioral seizures. A subset of female mice was ovariectomized (OVX). Acute hippocampal slices from Thy1-GCaMP6s mice were treated with either DMSO or TC-2153 (10 μM) for 1 h, and then incubated in artificial cerebrospinal fluid (ACSF) and potassium chloride (15 mM) for 2 min prior to live calcium imaging. Pyramidal neurons in dissociated rat hippocampal culture (DIV 8–10) were pre-treated with DMSO or TC-2153 (10 µM) for 1 h before whole-cell patch-clamp recording. Results: TC-2153 treatment significantly reduced KA-induced seizure severity, with greater trend seen in female mice. OVX abolished this TC-2153-induced decrease in seizure severity in female mice. TC-2153 application significantly decreased overall excitability of acute hippocampal slices from both sexes. Surprisingly, TC-2153 treatment hyperpolarized resting membrane potential and decreased firing rate, sag voltage, and hyperpolarization-induced current (Ih) of cultured hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Significance: This study is the first to demonstrate that pharmacological inhibition of STEP with TC-2153 decreases seizure severity and hippocampal activity in both sexes, and dampens hippocampal neuronal excitability and Ih. We propose that the antiseizure effects of TC-2153 are mediated by its unexpected action on suppressing neuronal intrinsic excitability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1211-1224
Number of pages14
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • STEP
  • TC-2153
  • excitability
  • kainic acid
  • seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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