- The aim of this study was to investigate the role of the synaptic metabotropic zinc receptor mZnR/GPR39 in physiological adaptation to epileptic seizures. We previously demonstrated that synaptic activation of mZnR/GPR39 enhances inhibitory drive in the hippocampus by upregulating neuronal K(+)/Cl(-) co-transporter 2 (KCC2) activity. Here, we first show that mZnR/GPR39 knockout (KO) adult mice have dramatically enhanced susceptibility to seizures triggered by a single intraperitoneal injection of kainic acid, when compared to wild type (WT) littermates. Kainate also substantially enhances seizure-associated gamma oscillatory activity in juvenile mZnR/GPR39 KO hippocampal slices, a phenomenon that can be reproduced in WT tissue by extracellular Zn(2+) chelation. Importantly, kainate-induced synaptic Zn(2+) release enhances surface expression and transport activity of KCC2 in WT, but not mZnR/GPR39 KO hippocampal neurons. Kainate-dependent upregulation of KCC2 requires mZnR/GPR39 activation of the Gαq/phospholipase C/extracellular regulated kinase (ERK1/2) signaling cascade. We suggest that mZnR/GPR39-dependent upregulation of KCC2 activity provides homeostatic adaptation to an excitotoxic stimulus by increasing inhibition. As such, mZnR/GPR39 may provide a novel pharmacological target for dampening epileptic seizure activity. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.