This study was intended to investigate the effect of valproate (VPA) and oxcarbazepine (OXC) on embryo implantation in terms of extracellular matrix protein distribution. Thirty female rats (Wistar albino) were assigned to three groups of 10 animals each. Group 1 was administered two doses of saline solution, group 2, two doses of VPA at 300 mg/kg/day and group 3, two doses of OXC at 100 mg/kg/day, for a period of 3 months. Female rats with vaginal plugs mated with males for one night were placed into separate cages. Day of mating was taken as day 0, and implantation areas were obtained with rats being sacrificed on the morning of day 7. Immunohistochemical staining and electron microscopic protocols were then applied. At electron microscopic evaluation, extraembryonic endoderm and ectoderm layers could not be distinguished in semi-thin sections in the VPA group, while they were partially differentiated in the OXC group. At immunohistochemical staining, laminin was observed in the primary embryonic endoderm cell visceral and parietal layers, the uterine luminal epithelial cells and the secondary decidual zone in the control group. In the VPA group, it was weakly expressed in some embryo trophoectoderm cells and uterine luminal epithelial cells and moderately in some decidual cells. In the OXC group, it was moderately expressed in some trophoectoderm and decidual cells. Collagen IV was localized in the ectoplacental cone cells and secondary decidual zone and weak in the luminal epithelial cells in the control group. In the VPA and OXC groups, collagen IV was negative in all embryonic and maternal structures in the VPA and OXC groups. Vimentin was moderately expressed in the luminal epithelium and strongly expressed in the primary decidual zone and ectoplacental cone cells in the control group. In the VPA group, it was negative in the embryo trophoectoderm, decidual and uterine luminal epithelial cells, while in the OXC group it was moderately localized in the ectoplacental cone cells. The use of VPA and OXC has a negative effect on the expression of extracellular matrix proteins that play a key role in embryo implantation in young rats. This may lead to pregnancies ending in failure. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.