✓ Pathological changes of the cerebral arteries were studied in 30 dogs after subarachnoid injections of saline, fresh autologous blood, epinephrine, blood plus epinephrine, norepinephrine, or blood plus norepinephrine. Macroscopically, the circle of Willis was maximally dilated after the injection of epinephrine and was constricted following administration of blood plus epinephrine. Microscopically, neither saline nor blood produced abnormalities, except for minor changes of the adventitia in the latter. Epinephrine produced frank necrosis of smooth-muscle cells, which was subsequently replaced by fibrosis in the media of larger subarachnoid arteries, and the leakage of necrotic material from the infarcted hypothalamus contributed to these lesions. Blood plus epinephrine produced marked changes in the internal elastic lamina and tortuosities of the nuclei of smooth-muscle cells, while norepinephrine and blood plus norepinephrine produced only minor changes.
Previously reported findings of morphological changes due to vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage were confirmed experimentally, but such changes were found only after application of epinephrine. It is suggested that epinephrine produced the most severe vasospasm among the five substances tested.