Effect of vasopressin on cold-induced brain edema in cats

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✓ Centrally released arginine vasopressin (AVP) has been implicated in the regulation of intracranial pressure (ICP) and brain water, and is elevated in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of some patients with pseudotumor cerebri or subarachnoid hemorrhage. The authors have examined the relationship of AVP levels in CSF to ICP and brain water content in three experimental groups of cats with and without cold-induced vasogenic edema. With the cats under general anesthesia, a cold lesion was made and cannulas were placed in the cisterna magna, lateral ventricle, and aorta. Subsequent central and systemic measurements were made while the animals were awake and free-roaming.

In Experiment 1, endogenous AVP levels in CSF were measured every 12 hours over a 48-hour period by radioimmunoassay in cats with sham craniotomy, mild edema, or moderate edema; no significant difference was found between groups although a diurnal variation was seen (range 2 to 18 pg/ml). In Experiment 2, either carrier solution or AVP, in doses of 1.5 or 30 ng, was administered via a lateral ventricle every 2 hours over 24 hours in unlesioned cats. In Experiment 3, cats received 2 or 35 ng of carrier solution or AVP in a similar manner, but coupled with a cold lesion. The CSF AVP levels ranged from an average of 100 to 681 pg/ml and 1.4 to 11.9 ng/ml in the two dose groups in both experiments. Neither the low nor the high dose had an effect on brain water content in normal white matter (Experiment 2), but both doses increased brain water content in edematous white matter (p < 0.05 in Experiment 3), as determined by wet and dry weight measurements of standardized pieces of white matter. The ICP was decreased by high-dose AVP in normal cats (p < 0.01 at 24 hours), but in lesioned cats was unchanged by low-dose and increased by high-dose AVP (p < 0.05 at 18 hours). The authors conclude that pharmacological doses of central AVP facilitate the production of vasogenic edema.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Ralph F. Reeder, M.D., Section of Neurosurgery, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Hanover, New Hampshire 03756.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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