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Ann Neurol. 1991 Jun;29(6):629-37.

Epileptogenic effect of hypoxia in the immature rodent brain.

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Department of Neurology, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115.


The response to cerebral hypoxia/ischemia may be different in the neonate compared to other age groups. An in vivo model was developed in the rat to determine whether there are age-dependent differences in the effects of hypoxia on electroencephalographic (EEG) activity. EEG recordings were obtained from Long Evans hooded rats deprived of oxygen at five ages: postnatal days 5 to 7, 10 to 12, 15 to 17, 25 to 27, and 50 to 60. Oxygen concentration was varied from 0, 2, 3, and 4% between animals. EEGs were recorded in all animals before, during, and at 1 hour after exposure to the hypoxic condition and at 1 to 7 days afterward in a subset of animals. All animals were deprived of oxygen until the onset of apnea and bradycardia to 20 to 40% of baseline heart rate values. Hypoxia resulted in isoelectric EEG significantly more frequently in the animals deprived of oxygen at postnatal days 25 to 27 and 50 to 60 than in the younger age groups. A highly significant effect was that the animals deprived at postnatal days 5 to 17 revealed a high incidence of epileptiform EEG activity during hypoxia. In contrast, the older animals exhibited only rare isolated EEG spikes before reaching an isoelectric EEG. The severity of hypoxia-induced epileptiform EEG changes was highest in the animals subjected to moderately hypoxic conditions (3% and 4% oxygen) at postnatal days 10 to 12. Furthermore, epileptiform changes persisted for hours to days following prolonged episodes of hypoxia in the younger animals. This study demonstrates a unique response of the immature brain to exhibit epileptiform activity during hypoxia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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