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Increased cerebral output of free radicals during hypoxia: implications for acute mountain sickness?

Bailey, Damian M., Taudorf, Sarah, Berg, Ronan M. G., Lundby, Carsten, McEneny, Jane, Young, Ian S., Evans, Kevin A., James, Philip Eurig, Shore, Angharad, Hullin, David A., McCord, Joe M., Pedersen, Bente K. and Moller, Kirsten 2009. Increased cerebral output of free radicals during hypoxia: implications for acute mountain sickness? AJP: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 297 (5) , R1283-R1292. 10.1152/ajpregu.00366.2009

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This study examined whether hypoxia causes free radical-mediated disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and impaired cerebral oxidative metabolism and whether this has any bearing on neurological symptoms ascribed to acute mountain sickness (AMS). Ten men provided internal jugular vein and radial artery blood samples during normoxia and 9-h passive exposure to hypoxia (12.9% O2). Cerebral blood flow was determined by the Kety-Schmidt technique with net exchange calculated by the Fick principle. AMS and headache were determined with clinically validated questionnaires. Electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy and ozone-based chemiluminescence were employed for direct detection of spin-trapped free radicals and nitric oxide metabolites. Neuron-specific enolase (NSE), S100β, and 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NT) were determined by ELISA. Hypoxia increased the arterio-jugular venous concentration difference (a-vD) and net cerebral output of lipid-derived alkoxyl-alkyl free radicals and lipid hydroperoxides (P < 0.05 vs. normoxia) that correlated with the increase in AMS/headache scores (r = −0.50 to −0.90, P < 0.05). This was associated with a reduction in a-vD and hence net cerebral uptake of plasma nitrite and increased cerebral output of 3-NT (P < 0.05 vs. normoxia) that also correlated against AMS/headache scores (r = 0.74–0.87, P < 0.05). In contrast, hypoxia did not alter the cerebral exchange of S100β and both global cerebral oxidative metabolism (cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen) and neuronal integrity (NSE) were preserved (P > 0.05 vs. normoxia). These findings indicate that hypoxia stimulates cerebral oxidative-nitrative stress, which has broader implications for other clinical models of human disease characterized by hypoxemia. This may prove a risk factor for AMS by a mechanism that appears independent of impaired BBB function and cerebral oxidative metabolism.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: blood-brain barrier; nitric oxide; vasogenic edema; electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy; spin trapping
Publisher: American Physiological Society
ISSN: 0363-6119
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2017 10:32

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