Functional activation of cerebral blood flow after cardiac arrest in rat

B Schmitz, B W Böttiger, K A Hossmann
Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism 1997, 17 (11): 1202-9
After a period of global cerebral ischemia, CO2 reactivity and the hemodynamic-metabolic activation to functional stimulation are transiently suppressed. This raises the question of whether the impaired functional coupling reflects disturbances of functional integrity of the brain or an impaired cerebrovascular reactivity. We, therefore, compared the recovery of CO2 reactivity with that of somatosensory evoked potentials, functional flow activation and neurologic deficits in a rodent model of cardiac arrest-induced cerebral ischemia, followed by up to 7 days of reperfusion. Cardiac arrest of 10 minutes' duration was produced in 24 animals by electrical fibrillation of the heart. Five animals were sham-operated controls. Resuscitation was performed by external cardiac massage, using standard resuscitation procedures. Functional activation was carried out under chloralose anesthesia by electrical stimulation of forepaws. CO2 reactivity was tested by ventilation of animals with 6% CO2. During functional and hypercapnic stimulation CBF was measured in the somatosensory cortex using laser-Doppler flowmetry, and at the end of the experiment by 14C-iodoantipyrine autoradiography. Neurologic deficits were scored by evaluating consciousness and various sensory and motor functions. In control animals 6% CO2 increased CBF measured by laser-Doppler flowmetry by 28.8% +/- 8.7%. Forepaw stimulation generated somatosensory evoked potentials with an amplitude of 750 +/- 217 microV and increased CBF measured by laser-Doppler flowmetry by 86.0% +/- 18.1%. After return of spontaneous circulation, CO2 reactivity was transiently reduced to about 30% of control at 1 hour of reperfusion (P < 0.05) but returned to near control at 5 hours. Somatosensory evoked potential amplitudes were reduced to 15% of control at 45 minutes of reperfusion and returned to only 50% to 60% at 3 and 7 days after return of spontaneous circulation (P < 0.05). Functional activation of blood flow was completely suppressed during the first hour after return of spontaneous circulation but also recovered to 50% to 60% of control at 3 days after return of spontaneous circulation (P < 0.05). Linear regression analysis revealed a significant correlation between recovery of functional activation of blood flow and both recovery of the amplitude of somatosensory evoked potentials (P = 0.03) and the neurologic deficit score (P = 0.02), but not between neurologic deficit score and recovery of CO2 reactivity or somatosensory evoked potential amplitudes. These data demonstrate that the suppression of functional activation of blood flow after 10 minutes cardiac arrest is not related to impairment of coupling mechanisms but reflects ongoing disturbances of the functional integrity of the brain. Assessment of functional flow coupling is a reliable way to study postischemic recovery of the brain.


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