Neuroprotection and anti-seizure effects of levetiracetam in a rat model of penetrating ballistic-like brain injury

Krista L. Caudle*, Xi Chun M. Lu, Andrea Mountney, Deborah A. Shear, Frank C. Tortella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: We assessed the therapeutic efficacy of FDA-approved anti-epileptic drug Levetiracetam (LEV) to reduce posttraumatic nonconvulsive seizure (NCS) activity and promote neurobehavioral recovery following 10% frontal penetrating ballistic-like brain injury (PBBI) in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Methods: Experiment 1 anti-seizure study: 50 mg/kg LEV (25 mg/kg maintenance doses) was given twice daily for 3 days (LEV3D) following PBBI; outcome measures included seizures incidence, frequency, duration, and onset. Experiment 2 neuroprotection studies: 50 mg/kg LEV was given twice daily for either 3 (LEV3D) or 10 days (LEV10D) post-injury; outcome measures include motor (rotarod) and cognitive (water maze) functions. Results:LEV3D treatment attenuated seizure activity with significant reductions inNCSincidence (54%), frequency, duration, and delayed latency to seizure onset compared to vehicle treatment. LEV3D treatment failed to improve cognitive or motor performance; however extending the dosing regimen through 10 days post-injury afforded significant neuroprotective benefit. Animals treated with the extended LEV10D dosing regimen showed a twofold improvement in rotarod task latency to fall as well as significantly improved spatial learning performance (24%) in the MWM task. Conclusions: These findings support the dual anti- seizure and neuroprotective role of LEV, but more importantly identify the importance of an extended dosing protocol which was specific to the therapeutic targets studied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-270
Number of pages14
JournalRestorative Neurology and Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - 21 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Traumatic brain injury
  • cognitive function
  • motor
  • neuroprotection
  • post-traumatic seizures
  • rat


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