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Can J Anaesth. 2003 Dec;50(10):1061-8.

Hypercapnia increases cerebral tissue oxygen tension in anesthetized rats.

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  • 1Department of Anaesthesia, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



To test the hypotheses that deliberate elevation of PaCO(2) increases cerebral tissue oxygen tension (PBrO(2)) by augmenting PaO(2) and regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF).


Anesthetized rats were exposed to increasing levels of inspired oxygen (O(2)) or carbon dioxide (CO(2); 5%, 10% and 15%, n = 6). Mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), PBrO(2) and rCBF were measured continuously. Blood gas analysis and hemoglobin concentrations were determined for each change in inspired gas concentration. Data are presented as mean +/- standard deviation with P < 0.05 taken to be significant.


The PBrO(2) increased in proportion to arterial oxygenation (PaO(2)) when the percentage of inspired O(2) was increased. Proportional increases in PaCO(2) (48.7 +/- 4.9, 72.3 +/- 6.0 and 95.3 +/- 15.4 mmHg), PaO(2) (172.2 +/- 33.1, 191.7 +/- 42.5 and 216.0 +/- 41.8 mmHg), and PBrO(2) (29.1 +/- 9.2, 49.4 +/- 19.5 and 60.5 +/- 23.0 mmHg) were observed when inspired CO(2) concentrations were increased from 0% to 5%, 10% and 15%, respectively, while arterial pH decreased (P < 0.05 for each). Exposure to CO(2) increased rCBF from 1.04 +/- 0.67 to a peak value of 1.49 +/- 0.45 (P < 0.05). Following removal of exogenous CO(2), arterial blood gas values returned to baseline while rCBF and PBrO(2) remained elevated for over 30 min. The hypercapnia induced increase in PBrO(2) was threefold higher than that resulting from a comparable increase in PaO(2) achieved by increasing the inspired O(2) concentration (34.9 +/- 14.5 vs 11.4 +/- 5.0 mmHg, P < 0.05).


These data support the hypothesis that the combined effect of increased CBF, PaO(2) and reduced pH collectively contribute to augmenting cerebral PBrO(2) during hypercapnia.

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