NMR Studies of Metabolism in Experimental Models

  • James W. Prichard


Epileptic seizures call forth higher rates of cerebral blood flow and consumption of oxygen and glucose than any other reversible metabolic stress. Intimate understanding of these events is important for two quite different reasons. First, activation of metabolism during seizures is likely to occur by invoking in extreme form mechanisms which under more moderate circumstances subserve normal function. Viewed that way, investigation of epileptic pathophysiology is an avenue to understanding of still larger matters than the neurobiological basis of a major health problem. Second, permanent cell damage is a well documented consequence of intense, prolonged seizure discharge; prevention of it depends in part on learning precisely how it occurs. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) has recently become available for the study of cerebral metabolism in vivo; the first few years of its development have been reviewed (1). Observation of well-known metabolic changes in seizures was a natural validating step in development of the new technology, which makes measurement of cerebral phosphocreatine (PCr), adenosine triphosphate (ATP), intracellular pH (pHi) and lactate possible in the living brain. Since the behavior of these variables during experimental seizures has been documented abundantly by other techniques, induction of seizures offered an opportunity to assess the practical capability of MRS to detect large, predictable metabolic changes in vivo. The validating phase of the work was successful, and MRS methods now appear to be capable of examining aspects of seizure metabolism which are difficult to study any other way. An example of this is a previously unappreciated dissociation between the pHi and lactate content of seizing cerebrum in the rabbit, described in the last section of this chapter.


Cerebral Blood Flow Status Epilepticus Lactate Elevation Seizure Discharge Shock Train 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • James W. Prichard
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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