The antiepileptic drug Levetiracetam (Lev) has neuroprotective properties in experimental stroke, cerebral hemorrhage and neurotrauma. In these conditions, non-convulsive seizures (NCSs) propagate from the core of the focal lesion into perilesional tissue, enlarging the damaged area and promoting epileptogenesis. Here, we explore whether Lev neuroprotective effect is accompanied by changes in NCS generation or propagation. In particular, we performed continuous EEG recordings before and after the permanent occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (pMCAO) in rats that received Lev (100 mg/kg) or its vehicle immediately before surgery. Both in Lev-treated and in control rats, EEG activity was suppressed after pMCAO. In control but not in Lev-treated rats, EEG activity reappeared approximately 30-45 min after pMCAO. It initially consisted in single spikes and, then, evolved into spike-and-wave and polyspike-and-wave discharges. In Lev-treated rats, only rare spike events were observed and the EEG power was significantly smaller than in controls. Approximately 24 hours after pMCAO, EEG activity increased in Lev-treated rats because of the appearance of polyspike events whose power was, however, significantly smaller than in controls. In rats sacrificed 24 hours after pMCAO, the ischemic lesion was approximately 50% smaller in Lev-treated than in control rats. A similar neuroprotection was observed in rats sacrificed 72 hours after pMCAO. In conclusion, in rats subjected to pMCAO, a single Lev injection suppresses NCS occurrence for at least 24 hours. This electrophysiological effect could explain the long lasting reduction of ischemic brain damage caused by this drug. © 2013 Cuomo et al.
The antiepileptic drug levetiracetam suppresses non-convulsive seizure activity and reduces ischemic brain damage in rats subjected to permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion / Cuomo, O.; Rispoli, V.; Leo, A.; Politi, G. B.; Vinciguerra, A.; Di Renzo, G.; Cataldi, M.. - In: PLOS ONE. - ISSN 1932-6203. - 8:11(2013), p. e80852. [10.1371/journal.pone.0080852]