Cardiovascular abnormalities are widespread when a newborn is exposed to a hypoxic-ischemic injury in the neonatal period. Although the neuroprotective effects of levetiracetam (LEV) have been reported after hypoxia, the cardioprotective effects of LEV have not been documented. Therefore, we aimed to investigate whether levetiracetam (LEV) has a protective effect on cardiac-contractility and ultrastructure of heart muscle in rats exposed to hypoxia-ischemia (HI) during the neonatal period. A total of 49 seven-day-old rat pups were separated into four groups. For HI induction, a combination of right common carotid artery ligation with 8% oxygen in seven-day-old rat pups for 2 h was performed for saline, LEV100, and LEV200 groups. Just after hypoxia, LEV100 and LEV200 groups were administered with 100 mg/kg and 200 mg/kg of LEV, respectively. The arteries of rats in the control group were only detected; no ligation or hypoxia was performed. At the end of the 16th week after HI, cardiac mechanograms were recorded, and samples of tissue were explored by electronmicroscopy.While ventricular contractility in the control group was similar to LEV100, there were significant decreases in both saline and LEV200 groups (p
< 0.05). Although ventricular contractile duration of the control and saline groups was found to be similar, durations in the LEV100 and LEV200 groups were significantly higher (p
< 0.05). After HI, mitochondrial damage and ultrastructural deteriorative alterations in ventricles and atriums of the LEV-administered groups were significantly less severe than the saline group. The present study showed that neonatal HI caused long-term cardiac dysfunction and ultrastructural deteriorations in cardiac muscles. LEV administration just after HI might possess some protective effects against myocardial damage and contractility.
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