Levetiracetam is Neuroprotective in Murine Models of Closed Head Injury and Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Multidisciplinary Neuroprotection Laboratories, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
Neurocritical Care (Impact Factor: 2.44). 02/2006; 5(1):71-8. DOI: 10.1385/NCC:5:1:71
Source: PubMed


Prophylactic treatment with antiepileptic drugs is common practice following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and traumatic brain injury. However, commonly used antiepileptic drugs have multiple drug interactions, require frequent monitoring of serum levels, and are associated with adverse effects that may prompt discontinuation. In the current study, we test the hypothesis that levetiracetam, an anticonvulsant with favorable interaction and adverse event profiles, is neuroprotective in clinically relevant models of SAH and closed head injury (CHI).
A single intravenous dose of vehicle, low-dose (18 mg/kg), or high-dose (54 mg/kg) levetiracetam was administered intravenously followed CHI. Functional assessments were performed on a daily basis, and histological assessments performed at 24 hours. In a separate series of experiments, mice were randomized to receive intravenous administration of vehicle, low-dose, or high-dose levetiracetam every 12 hours for 3 days following SAH. Functional endpoints were assessed daily, followed by measurement of MCA luminal diameter on day 3.
A single dose of levetiracetam improved functional and histological outcomes after CHI. This effect appeared specific for levetiracetam and was not associated with fosphenytoin treatment. Treatment with levetiracetam also improved functional outcomes and reduced vasospasm following SAH.
Levetiracetam is neuroprotective in clinically relevant animal models of SAH and CHI. Levetiracetam may be a therapeutic alternative to phenytoin following acute brain injury in the clinical setting when seizure prophylaxis is indicated.

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    • "These mechanisms of action could explain the unique antiepileptogenic activity of LEV, including neuroprotection, seizure prevention, and improved cognitive outcomes of LEV use in animal models of brain injury, and support its use for seizure prevention in moderate and severe TBI. To offer more detail, LEV has recently been shown to be neuroprotective in a rodent model of controlled cortical impact (CCI) and subarachnoid hemorrhage (effect that has not been observed with PHT); administration of LEV but not PHT improved functional outcomes.34 Another rodent study showed that 20 days of LEV treatment following CCI, when compared with placebo, promoted neuronal sparing, decreased the volume of injury, and reduced release of pro-inflammatory interleukin (IL)-1β.35 "
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    ABSTRACT: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) leads to many undesired problems and complications, including immediate and long-term seizures/epilepsy, changes in mood, behavioral, and personality problems, cognitive and motor deficits, movement disorders, and sleep problems. Clinicians involved in the treatment of patients with acute TBI need to be aware of a number of issues, including the incidence and prevalence of early seizures and post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE), comorbidities associated with seizures and anticonvulsant therapies, and factors that can contribute to their emergence. While strong scientific evidence for early seizure prevention in TBI is available for phenytoin (PHT), other antiepileptic medications, eg, levetiracetam (LEV), are also being utilized in clinical settings. The use of PHT has its drawbacks, including cognitive side effects and effects on function recovery. Rates of recovery after TBI are expected to plateau after a certain period of time. Nevertheless, some patients continue to improve while others deteriorate without any clear contributing factors. Thus, one must ask, 'Are there any actions that can be taken to decrease the chance of post-traumatic seizures and epilepsy while minimizing potential short- and long-term effects of anticonvulsants?' While the answer is 'probably,' more evidence is needed to replace PHT with LEV on a permanent basis. Some have proposed studies to address this issue, while others look toward different options, including other anticonvulsants (eg, perampanel or other AMPA antagonists), or less established treatments (eg, ketamine). In this review, we focus on a comparison of the use of PHT versus LEV in the acute TBI setting and summarize the clinical aspects of seizure prevention in humans with appropriate, but general, references to the animal literature.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
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    • "It is also possible that a less efficacious anticonvulsant may increase the risk of DCI through the mechanism of delayed seizures and increased metabolic demand, as has been previously described [11]. One animal study has demonstrated a decreased risk of poor neurological outcomes as well as vasospasm associated with the use of levetiracetam after aSAH [12]. To our knowledge there is no study in the literature directly comparing the risk of delayed seizures, DCI and poor outcomes associated with the use of levetiracetam versus phenytoin in patients with aSAH. "
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    ABSTRACT: Current guidelines recommend against the use of phenytoin following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) but consider other anticonvulsants, such as levetiracetam, acceptable. Our objective was to evaluate the risk of poor functional outcomes, delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) and delayed seizures in aSAH patients treated with levetiracetam versus phenytoin. Medical records of patients with aSAH admitted between 2005–2012 receiving anticonvulsant prophylaxis with phenytoin or levetiracetam for >72 hours were reviewed. The primary outcome measure was poor functional outcome, defined as modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score >3 at first recorded follow-up. Secondary outcomes measures included DCI and the incidence of delayed seizures. The association between the use of levetiracetam and phenytoin and the outcomes of interest was studied using logistic regression. Medical records of 564 aSAH patients were reviewed and 259 included in the analysis after application of inclusion/exclusion criteria. Phenytoin was used exclusively in 43 (17%), levetiracetam exclusively in 132 (51%) while 84 (32%) patients were switched from phenytoin to levetiracetam. Six (2%) patients had delayed seizures, 94 (36%) developed DCI and 63 (24%) had mRS score >3 at follow-up. On multivariate analysis, only modified Fisher grade and seizure before anticonvulsant administration were associated with DCI while age, Hunt-Hess grade and presence of intraparenchymal hematoma were associated with mRS score >3. Choice of anticonvulsant was not associated with any of the outcomes of interest. There was no difference in the rate of delayed seizures, DCI or poor functional outcome in patients receiving phenytoin versus levetiracetam after aSAH. The high rate of crossover from phenytoin suggests that levetiracetam may be better tolerated.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014
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    • "Control groups were always included in every test due to a variation observed from batch to batch regarding PTZ doses to generate behavioral events in mice. Levetiracetam (50 mg/kg) was also included as positive control [30] [47]. "
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    ABSTRACT: In a previous study, we uncovered the anticonvulsant properties of turmeric oil and its sesquiterpenoids (ar-turmerone, α-, β-turmerone and α-atlantone) in both zebrafish and mouse models of chemically-induced seizures using pentylenetetrazole (PTZ). In this follow-up study, we aimed at evaluating the anticonvulsant activity of ar-turmerone further. A more in-depth anticonvulsant evaluation of ar-turmerone was therefore carried out in the i.v. PTZ and 6-Hz mouse models. The potential toxic effects of ar-turmerone were evaluated using the beam walking test to assess mouse motor function and balance. In addition, determination of the concentration-time profile of ar-turmerone was carried out for a more extended evaluation of its bioavailability in the mouse brain. Ar-turmerone displayed anticonvulsant properties in both acute seizure models in mice and modulated the expression patterns of two seizure-related genes (c-fos and brain-derived neurotrophic factor [bdnf]) in zebrafish. Importantly, no effects on motor function and balance were observed in mice after treatment with ar-turmerone even after administering a dose 500-fold higher than the effective dose in the 6-Hz model. In addition, quantification of its concentration in mouse brains revealed rapid absorption after i.p. administration, capacity to cross the BBB and long-term brain residence. Hence, our results provide additional information on the anticonvulsant properties of ar-turmerone and support further evaluation towards elucidating its mechanism of action, bioavailability, toxicity and potential clinical application.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · PLoS ONE
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