Marine-derived small molecules and peptides have played a central role in elaborating pharmacological specificities and neuronal functions of mammalian ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs), the primary mediators of excitatory synaptic transmission in the central nervous system (CNS). As well, the pathological sequelae elicited by one class of compounds (the kainoids) constitute a widely-used animal model for human mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE). New and existing molecules could prove useful as lead compounds for the development of therapeutics for neuropathologies that have aberrant glutamatergic signaling as a central component. In this chapter we discuss natural source origins and pharmacological activities of those marine compounds that target ionotropic glutamate receptors.
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