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J Neurosurg. 1986 May;64(5):780-6.

Effect of naloxone on cerebral perfusion and cardiac performance during experimental cerebral ischemia.


Transient global cerebral ischemia (TGI) was induced in awake rats using the "four-vessel" occlusion model of Pulsinelli and Brierley. Blood pressure, arterial blood gases, cerebral blood flow, and cardiac output were measured during the acute (up to 2 hours) and chronic (2 to 72 hours) postischemic time periods. Coincident with the onset of TGI, cardiac output and caudate blood flow were depressed. The former returned to baseline within 30 minutes after the conclusion of TGI, and the latter progressed to hyperemia at 12 hours (81.8 +/- 4.9 vs 68.6 +/- 3.9 ml/min/100 gm tissue (mean +/- standard error of the mean] and oligemia at 72 hours (45.5 +/- 4.8 ml/min/100 gm tissue) post-TGI in the untreated control rats. Arterial blood gases and blood pressure were unchanged. Naloxone (1mg/kg) given at the time of TGI or as late as 60 minutes post-TGI and every 2 hours thereafter for 24 hours or bilateral cervical vagotomy prevented the depression in cardiac output and blocked the hyperemic-oligemic cerebral blood flow pattern that was predictive of stroke in this rat model. Changes in cardiac output after TGI in this model appear to be mediated by parasympathetic pathways to the heart from the brain stem. Opiate receptor blockade probably blocks endogenous opioid peptide stimulation of these brain-stem circulatory centers, which results in inhibition of parasympathetic activity and improvement in cardiac output. The usefulness of naloxone in the treatment of experimental stroke may be a function of its ability to improve cerebral perfusion in pressure-passive cerebrovascular territories. Variations in cardiac output during experimental stroke may explain the dissimilar responses to naloxone treatment reported by other investigators of experimental stroke.

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