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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 20, 2021

Levetiracetam exposure during prenatal and postnatal period induces cognitive decline in rat offsprings, not completely prevented by Bacopa monnieri

  • Sudhishma , Sahana Devadasa Acharya ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Sheetal D. Ullal ORCID logo , Vandana Blossom , Amrita Parida and Nadira Noushida



Levetiracetam (LEV) is an antiepileptic recommended during pregnancy. Bacopa monneri is a medicinal herb used in Ayurveda for improvement of cognition. Data on effects of LEV and Bacopa on cognition is inadequate. The study evaluated the cognitive effects of LEV on rat offspring of dams exposed to LEV and whether pretreatment with Bacopa monnieri, inhibits the potential cognitive decline by LEV.


Pregnant rats were allocated into four groups of three rats each. Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4 received 2% gum acacia, LEV 270 mg/kg, LEV 270 mg/kg + Bacopa 100 mg/kg and LEV 270 mg/kg + Bacopa 200 mg/kg respectively during pregnancy and lactation. Three pups from all dams were chosen at random and exposed to passive avoidance, Hebb-Williams and Morris water maze tests to check for their cognition and relevant histopathology was done.


In the passive avoidance model groups 3 and 4, showed an increase in escape latency compared with group 2, demonstrating an improved learning (p=0.05). In Hebb-Williams maze, the time taken to reach reward chamber by group 2 increased compared to group 1, p=0.006, showing cognitive decline. Neuronal count in hippocampus and prefrontal cortex decreased significantly in group 2, which improved in group 3 & 4 however there was distortion of architecture in group 4.


LEV exposure in intrauterine and neonatal period induced cognitive decline in rat offsprings and Bacopa 100 mg/kg prevented LEV induced cognitive decline. However safety of exposure to Bacopa during the gestation period has to be evaluated.

Corresponding author: Sahana Devadasa Acharya, (MBBS, MD), Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, 575001 Karnataka, India, E-mail:

  1. Research funding: None declared.

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Not applicable.

  5. Ethical approval: Approval was obtained from Institutional Animal Ethics Committed prior to conduct of study.


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Received: 2020-10-12
Accepted: 2021-07-05
Published Online: 2021-07-20

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