Effect of newer anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) on the cognitive status in pentylenetetrazol induced seizures in a zebrafish model

Brandon Kar Meng Choo, Uday P. Kundap, Muhammad Faiz bin Johan Arief, Yatinesh Kumari, Jia Ling Yap, Chee Piau Wong, Iekhsan Othman, Mohd Farooq Shaikh

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Epilepsy is marked by seizures that are a manifestation of excessive brain activity and is symptomatically treatable by anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). Unfortunately, the older AEDs have many side effects, with cognitive impairment being a major side effect that affects the daily lives of people with epilepsy. Thus, this study aimed to determine if newer AEDs (Zonisamide, Levetiracetam, Perampanel, Lamotrigine and Valproic Acid) also cause cognitive impairment, using a zebrafish model. Acute seizures were induced in zebrafish using pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) and cognitive function was assessed using the T-maze test of learning and memory. Neurotransmitter and gene expression levels related to epilepsy as well as learning and memory were also studied to provide a better understanding of the underlying processes. Ultimately, impaired cognitive function was seen in AED treated zebrafish, regardless of whether seizures were induced. A highly significant decrease in γ-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) and glutamate levels was also discovered, although acetylcholine levels were more variable. The gene expression levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (CAMP) Responsive Element Binding Protein 1 (CREB-1) were not found to be significantly different in AED treated zebrafish. Based on the experimental results, a decrease in brain glutamate levels due to AED treatment appears to be at least one of the major factors behind the observed cognitive impairment in the treated zebrafish.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-493
Number of pages11
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2019


  • Anti-convulsant
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Danio rerio
  • Epilepsy
  • T-maze

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