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Brain Res. 1998 Apr 27;791(1-2):75-82.

Role of cerebral blood flow in seizures from hyperbaric oxygen exposure.

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Naval Medical Research Institute, 8901 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20889-5607, USA.


Hyperbaric O2 exposure causes seizures by an unknown mechanism. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) may affect seizure latency, although no studies have demonstrated a direct relationship. Awake rats (male, Sprague-Dawley, 350-450 g), instrumented for measuring electroencephalographic activity (EEG) and CBF (laser-Doppler flowmetry), were exposed to 100% O2 at 4 or 5 atm (gauge pressure) until EEG seizures. Compression with O2 caused vasoconstriction to about 70% of control flow that was maintained for various times. CBF then suddenly, but transiently, increased at a time that was reliably related to seizure latency (r=0.8, p<0.01). Additional animals were treated with agents that have diverse pharmacology and their effects on CBF and latency were measured. Glutamate receptor antagonists MK-801 (1 or 4 mg/kg) and ketamine (20-100 mg/kg) significantly increased CBF by 60-80% and decreased seizure latency from about 17+/-8 min (+/-S.D.) in controls to 5+/-1 and 6+/-2 min, respectively. In opposite, a nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor, N-nitro-L-arginine (NNA)(25 mg/kg) decreased CBF by about 25% and increased time to seizure to 60+/-16 min. If these effects occur in humans, non-invasive measurement of CBF could potentially improve the safety and reliability of hyperbaric O2 usage in clinical and diving applications. It also appears that the effect of drugs on seizure latency can be explained, at least in part, by their effect on CBF.

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