Phenytoin Increases the Severity of Cortical Hemiplegia in Rats


The effects of systemic phenytoin administration on the motor deficit resulting from a cortical lesion were studied in rats trained to walk coordinately on a narrow beam. The somatomotor cortex lesion was produced by an indwelling cannula through which saline or GABA were infused chronically via an osmotic minipump. Phenytoin (50 mg/kg i.p.) administered between days 3 and 5 after the intracortical catheter implantation produced a significant increase in the severity of the resulting hemiplegic syndrome. This DPH effect was more noticeable in those animals also receiving intracortical GABA infusions. The anticonvulsant at the dose used had no effect on motor performance when administered preoperatively or when given to the animals 14 days after surgical intervention when their hemiplegic syndrome had cleared. These findings suggest that phenytoin administration to brain-damaged individuals in the initial postlesion stage may be deleterious.