Transient suppression of event-related evoked potentials produced by mild head injury in the cat

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✓ Studies in humans have shown that sensory stimuli, presented in the context of certain tasks, can elicit a late positive component (LPC), namely P300, in the scalp-recorded evoked potential believed to reflect neural activity related to attentional processes. A similar LPC has been reported in cats and monkeys. In this study, the LPC of the auditory evoked potential (AEP) in the cat was used to detect impairment in attention to a relevant stimulus after low levels of cerebral concussion produced by a fluid percussion device. A hollow screw (for fluid percussion) and stainless steel screws (for AEP recording) were surgically placed in the skull. After recovery from surgery, animals were trained in the paradigm to obtain an LPC. Pupillary dilation was conditioned to tones. A random sequence of two discriminable tones was presented. The lower tone had a probability of 0.1 and was followed by a tail shock (tone-shock). After 400 to 1000 tone-shock presentations, animals attended to the lower tone stimulus as inferred by selective pupillary dilation. In the AEP an early positive component at 50 to 120 msec related to an alerting response was enhanced, and an LPC at 250 to 450 msec appeared in response to the paired tone-shock. Animals were then subjected to cerebral concussion. Complete recovery of normal reflexes, motor coordination, and orienting response was seen within 2 hours after injury. The LPC was suppressed for a period of at least 3 days, suggesting that low magnitudes of brain injury can disrupt higher-order neural activities. This disruption can persist despite recovery of other neurological functions.

Article Information

Address reprint requests to: Antonio A. F. DeSalles, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital, 15 Parkman Street - ACC 324, Boston, Massachusetts 02114.

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Figures

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    Example of event-related auditory evoked potentials recorded in a single animal. Evoked potentials were averaged (32 sweeps) across low-frequency tone bursts paired with shock (tone-shock) which randomly occurred at a probability of 0.10, relative to a high-frequency tone not paired with shock (tone-non-shock). Either a high- or a low-frequency tone was presented every 2 seconds. The late positive component (latency 250 to 450 msec) was observed in response to tone-shock but not to tone-non-shock.

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    Time courses for changes in amplitudes of early positive components (EPC's) and late positive components (LPC's) of the auditory evoked potentials following low levels of fluid percussion brain injury. Data show averages for four animals (bars represent standard error of the means). Left: Acute changes. At 160 minutes after brain injury, the LPC was still significantly suppressed (p < 0.05), while the EPC had recovered to preinjury amplitudes. Right: Long-term changes showing peak amplitudes. Suppression of the LPC was observed up to 3 days after brain injury. This suppression was observed in each individual animal, but the variability in LPC amplitude across animals (p < 0.01) precluded statistical significance (p < 0.2).

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    Example of amplitude suppression in early positive components (EPC) and late positive components (LPC) of the auditory evoked potentials in a single animal following cerebral concussion. The EPC started to recover on the day of concussion, but the LPC did not recover completely until 5 days after injury.

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    Relationships between amplitudes of early positive components (EPC) and late positive components (LPC) of the auditory evoked potentials during the discrimination sessions. An average for four cats is given; the bars represent standard errors of the means.

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    Progressive recovery of late positive component (LPC) amplitude in a single animal during a 10-day period. Each point represents the average of three recorded LPC waves.

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    Examples of enhancement of late positive component (LPC) amplitude and delay of its peak latency after fluid percussion in an animal that did not show profound behavioral suppression after injury. The LPC was enhanced 32 minutes after injury and returned to preinjury amplitude and latency within 1 hour.

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