Nitric oxide-mediated central sympathetic excitation promotes CNS and pulmonary O₂ toxicity.
In hyperbaric oxygen (HBO(2)) at or above 3 atmospheres absolute (ATA), autonomic pathways link central nervous system (CNS) oxygen toxicity to pulmonary damage, possibly through a paradoxical and poorly characterized relationship between central nitric oxide production and sympathetic outflow. To investigate this possibility, we assessed sympathetic discharges, catecholamine release, cardiopulmonary hemodynamics, and lung damage in rats exposed to oxygen at 5 or 6 ATA. Before HBO(2) exposure, either a selective inhibitor of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (NOS) or a nonselective NOS inhibitor was injected directly into the cerebral ventricles to minimize effects on the lung, heart, and peripheral circulation. Experiments were performed on both anesthetized and conscious rats to differentiate responses to HBO(2) from the effects of anesthesia. EEG spikes, markers of CNS toxicity in anesthetized animals, were approximately four times as likely to develop in control rats than in animals with central NOS inhibition. In inhibitor-treated animals, autonomic discharges, cardiovascular pressures, catecholamine release, and cerebral blood flow all remained below baseline throughout exposure to HBO(2). In control animals, however, initial declines in these parameters were followed by significant increases above their baselines. In awake animals, central NOS inhibition significantly decreased the incidence of clonic-tonic convulsions or delayed their onset, compared with controls. The novel findings of this study are that NO produced by nNOS in the periventricular regions of the brain plays a critical role in the events leading to both CNS toxicity in HBO(2) and to the associated sympathetic hyperactivation involved in pulmonary injury.
Demchenko, IT; Moskvin, AN; Krivchenko, AI; Piantadosi, CA; Allen, BW
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