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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Feb 21;109(8):3095-100. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1121461109. Epub 2012 Feb 7.

A neurophysiological-metabolic model for burst suppression.

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Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Burst suppression is an electroencepholagram (EEG) pattern in which high-voltage activity alternates with isoelectric quiescence. It is characteristic of an inactivated brain and is commonly observed at deep levels of general anesthesia, hypothermia, and in pathological conditions such as coma and early infantile encephalopathy. We propose a unifying mechanism for burst suppression that accounts for all of these conditions. By constructing a biophysical computational model, we show how the prevailing features of burst suppression may arise through the interaction between neuronal dynamics and brain metabolism. In each condition, the model suggests that a decrease in cerebral metabolic rate, coupled with the stabilizing properties of ATP-gated potassium channels, leads to the characteristic epochs of suppression. Consequently, the model makes a number of specific predictions of experimental and clinical relevance.

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