Epilepsy is a common neurologic disorder resulting in spontaneous, recurrent seizures. About 30–40% of patients are not responsive to pharmacologic therapies. This may be due to the differences between individual patients such as etiology, underlying pathophysiology, and seizure focus, and it highlights the importance of new drug discovery and testing in this field. Our goal was to determine the efficacy of lacosamide (LCM), a drug approved for the treatment of focal seizures, in a model of generalized epilepsy with cortical dysplasia (CD). We sought to compare LCM to levetiracetam (LEV), a drug that is currently used for the treatment of both partial and generalized epilepsy and to test its proficiency.
Pregnant rats were irradiated to produce pups with malformed cortices in a model of CD, which will be referred to as the “first hit.” Adult animals, developed normally (NL) and irradiated (XRT), were surgically implanted with electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes. Baseline EEG was recorded on all rats prior to pretreatments with either LCM, LEV, or placebo (PBO). After 30 min, all rats were injected with a subconvulsive dose of pentylenetetrazole (PTZ), a γ-aminobutyric acid receptor A (GABAA) antagonist used to provoke generalized seizures as a “second hit.”
LCM and LEV were both effective against seizures induced by PTZ. XRT rats had a higher seizure incidence with longer and more severe seizures than NL rats. Seizure duration was decreased with both LCM and LEV in all animals. In XRT rats, there was a significant reduction in acute seizure incidence and severity with both LCM and LEV after PTZ injection.
Our results suggest that LCM could be used as a potential treatment option for generalized epilepsy with CD as the underlying pathology.