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Kidney Int. 2009 Sep;76(6):614-21. doi: 10.1038/ki.2009.254. Epub 2009 Jul 15.

Re-induction of hyponatremia after rapid overcorrection of hyponatremia reduces mortality in rats.

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Research Unit for the Study of Hydromineral Metabolism, Faculty of Medicine, Department of General Internal Medicine, Erasme Hospital, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Belgium.


Osmotic demyelination syndrome is a devastating neurologic disorder often seen after the rapid correction of chronic hyponatremia. The permeability of the blood-brain barrier is increased in experimental osmotic demyelination, and some have suggested that corticosteroids protect against this disorder by keeping the permeability of the blood-brain barrier low. We previously reported that re-lowering of the serum sodium after rapid correction of chronic hyponatremia was beneficial if performed early in the course (12 to 24 h). Here we compared mortality, blood-brain barrier permeability, and microglial activation in rats after the rapid correction of chronic hyponatremia. We studied three groups of rats after correction of chronic hyponatremia: and treated them with sodium chloride, with or without dexamethasone; or with sodium chloride followed by re-induction of hyponatremia. We found that treatment with dexamethasone or re-induction of hyponatremia effectively prevented the opening of the blood-brain barrier, reduced neurological manifestations, and decreased microglial activation; however, only re-induction of hyponatremia resulted in a significant decrease in mortality 5 days after the correction of chronic hyponatremia. Restoring the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to normal levels did not decrease mortality. Our results suggest that after inadvertent rapid correction of hyponatremia, treatment options should favor re-lowering serum sodium. The increased permeability of blood-brain barrier seen in osmotic demyelination syndrome may not be a primary pathophysiologic insult of this syndrome.

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