Cell Swelling Mechanisms in Brain

  • Oliver Kempski
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 115)


Brain function and survival depend critically on a sensitive regulation of brain volume. Three brain compartments — intra-, extracellular (e.c.), and intravascular — have to be accomodated in their individual size to ensure constancy of the total brain volume. Their volumes can be affected by various cerebral disorders. An enlargement of the intra-, or extracellular space resulting in an increase of cerebral tissue water is defined as brain edema (80). In case of an accumulation of intracellular water, edema is cytotoxic (60). The vasogenic edema type is characterized by a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and accumulation of extracellular protein-rich fluid. This review is restricted to swelling mechanisms concerning the intracellular compartment. It should be noted that cell swelling may occur at the expense of a shrinking extracellular space (ECS) without increasing total water content of the brain. Such a process would therefore not fulfill the definition of brain edema (s. above).


Cerebral Ischemia Hepatic Encephalopathy Glutamine Synthetase Brain Edema Spread Cortical Depression 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oliver Kempski
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Surgical ResearchKlinikum Großhadern Ludwig-Maximilians UniversityMünchen 70Germany

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