Cortical evoked potential and extracellular K+ and H+ at critical levels of brain ischemia.
As shown previously, the electrical function of the brain is critically dependent on cerebral blood flow in the sense that reduction beyond an ischemic threshold of approximately 15 ml/100 gm per minute (approximately 35% of control) in the baboon leads to complete failure of the somatosensory evoked response. This study tests the hypothesis that electrical failure in ischemia may be directly associated with a massive release of intracellular K+ or with a critical degree of extracellular acidosis. By microelectrode techniques, measurements of blood flow, extracellular activity of K+ and H+ as well as evoked potential were made in the baboon neocortex. Reductions in blood flow were obtained by occlusion of the middle cerebral artery and depression beyond the ischemic threshold of electrical function achieved by a reduction of systemic blood pressure which, in the ischemic zones, changed local cerebral blood flow proportionally. Abolition of evoked response could not be explained by depolarization by release of intracellular K+, nor was it critically dependent on cortical pH. However, the massive release of intracellular K+ was by itself critically dependent on cortical blood flow and occurred at 18 greater than 6 greater than 2 ml/100 gm per minute (median with 5% confidence limits). Thus a dual threshold in ischemia for neuronal function is described, the threshold for release of K+ being clearly lower than the threshold for complete electrical failure. Further, the findings support the concept of an ischemic penumbra during which the neurons remain structurally intact but functionally inactive. That neurons can survive for some time in this state of lethargy is evidenced by the observations that an increase in rCBF, if sufficient, can restore evoked potential and normalize extracellular K+ activity as well as pH.
- Copyright © 1977 by American Heart Association