Anticonvulsants lamotrigine and riluzole disrupt maternal behavior in postpartum female rats

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Maternal behavior is a highly motivated and well-organized social behavior. Previous studies have reported that anticonvulsants are frequently used in postpartum bipolar disorder. However, the maternal disruptive effect of the anticonvulsants has not been explored. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of anticonvulsants lamotrigine and riluzole on maternal behavior in postpartum female rats. On postpartum Day 3, Sprague-Dawley mother rats were given a single intraperitoneal injection of vehicle, lamotrigine (15, 25, 35 mg/kg), or riluzole (2, 4, 8 mg/kg). Maternal behavior was tested 30 min before and after injection. Animals treated with lamotrigine or riluzole had a longer pup retrieval latency, retrieved fewer pups into the nest, spent less time on nursing pups, as well as on building the disturbed nest, and animals treated with riluzole spent less time on pup licking. Whereas, the drugs in the tested doses did not shorten the total duration of behavior unrelated to maternal behavior. Overall, these data indicate that lamotrigine and riluzole disrupt major components of maternal behavior in postpartum female rats, but do not inhibit the behaviors unrelated to maternal behavior, which indicates that the maternal disruptive effect is not due to nonspecific sedative effect.

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