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Neuroscience. 1993 Jan;52(1):45-53.

MK-801 protects against neuronal injury induced by electrical stimulation.

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  • 1Neurological Research Laboratory, Huntington Medical Research Institutes, Pasadena, CA 91105.


The ability of MK-801, a non-competitive N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist, to protect neurons in the cerebral cortex from injury induced by prolonged electrical stimulation was assessed in cats. Platinum disc electrodes 8.0 mm in diameter and with a surface area of 0.5 cm2 were implanted in the subdural space over the parietal cortex. Ten days after implantation of the electrodes, all animals received continuous stimulation for 7 h using charge-balanced, cathodic-first, controlled current pulses with a charge density of 20 microC/cm2 and a charge/phase of 10 microC/phase. They received either no MK-801, or 0.33 or 5.0 mg/kg (i.v.) administered intravenously, just before the start of the stimulation. Immediately following the stimulation, the animals were perfused and the cerebral cortex examined by light microscopy at eight sites beneath the electrodes. Neuronal damage in the form of shrunken, hyperchromic neurons and perineuronal halos was present only beneath the stimulating electrodes; damage was moderate to severe in stimulated animals that had not received MK-801, slight in animals receiving 0.33 mg/kg, and none to slight in animals receiving 5.0 mg/kg. These results indicate that MK-801, in an apparently dose-dependent fashion, provides substantial but not complete protection against neuronal injury induced by prolonged electrical stimulation. Thus prolonged electrical stimulation can be added to the list of neuropathologic conditions which involve glutamate-induced excitotoxic damage via the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor. The results also support the hypothesis of neuronal hyperactivity as a principal cause of electrically-induced injury in the central nervous system. The implications for design of protocols for functional electrical stimulation are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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