We investigated the effects of topiramate (TPM), a novel broad spectrum anticonvulsant, on seizure severity, survival rate and blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity during hyperthermic seizures in rats with cortical dysplasia (CD). Offsprings of irradiated mothers were used in this study. To show the functional and morphological alterations in BBB integrity, quantitative analysis of Evans blue (EB) extravasation, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopic assessment of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) permeability were performed. Rats with CD exposed to hyperthermia exhibited seizures with mean Racine's scores of 3.92 +/- 1.2. Among the rats with CD pretreated with TPM, 21 of 24 rats showed no sign of seizure activity upon exposure to hyperthermia (p<0.01). The immunoreactivity of occludin, a tight junction protein, remained essentially unaltered in capillaries of hippocampus in all groups. In animals with CD exposed to hyperthermia, the significantly increased p-glycoprotein immunoreactivity in hippocampus (p<0.01) was slightly decreased by TPM pretreatment. Hyperthermic seizures increased BBB permeability to EB in animals with CD, but TPM pretreatment decreased the penetration of the tracer into the brain in these animals (p<0.01). Ultrastructurally frequent vesicles containing HRP reaction products were observed in capillary endothelial cells in cerebral cortex and hippocampus of rats with CD subjected to hyperthermia-induced seizures, and TPM pretreatment prevented the development of HRP reaction products in these animals. The results of this study suggest that TPM inhibits seizure activity and maintains BBB integrity in the course of febrile seizures in the setting of CD. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.