, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 73-84
Date: 03 Sep 2013

Stimulus-induced changes in extracellular Na+ and Cl concentration in relation to changes in the size of the extracellular space

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Extracellular Na+- and Cl-concentrations ([Na+]o, [Cl]o) were recorded with ion-selective microelectrodes during repetitive stimulation and stimulus-induced self-sustained neuronal afterdischarges (SAD) in the sensorimotor cortex of cats. In all cortical layers [Na+]o initially decreased by 4–7 mM. In depths of more than 600 μm below the cortical surface such decreases usually turned into increases of 2–6 mM during the course of the SADs, whereas in superficial layers [Na+]o never rose above its resting level. [Cl]o always showed an increase in the course of the SADs often preceded by an initial small decrease. The average increase at a depth of 1,000 μm was about 7 mM. [Cl]o reached peak values at about the end of the ictal period, whereas [Na+]o reached its maximum shortly after the end of the SAD, at times when [K+]o was still elevated above the baseline concentration.

These data indicate that the extracellular osmolarity can increase during SAD by up to 30 mM. Such an increase in osmolarity can be explained by an increase in the number of intracellular particles, caused by cleavage of larger molecules during enhanced metabolism. This could lead to cell-swelling due to passive water influx from the extracellular space (ES). However, the resulting reduction of the size of the ES is calculated to be less than 10% for an increase in intracellular osmolarity by 30 mOsm. This value is too small as compared to previously measured ES-reductions under similar conditions (i.e., 30% reduction at 1,000 μm; Dietzel et al. 1980). Reductions of the size of the ES that accompany the observed changes in the ionic environment, are quantitatively explained on the basis of the extended glial buffering mechanism described in the preceding paper.