Journal of neurotrauma vol:22 issue:7 pages:793-806
It is unknown whether barbiturates suppress cerebral oxygen metabolism after cerebral trauma as they do in normal individuals. We evaluated the influence of pentobarbital on cerebral oxygen handling of normal rats and rats subjected to non-hemorrhagic closed head injury (CHI). Oxygen delivery was assessed by measuring cerebral perfusion and oxygen extraction, enabling the calculation of cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2). Mitochondrial function was assessed by studying changes in the oxidized cytochrome oxidase concentration. CHI caused changes in both systemic and cerebral hemodynamics. Cerebral blood flow was reduced to 66% of its control value, but the cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen remained unchanged. Pentobarbital administration induced a significant lowering of the cerebral oxygen consumption in normal rats associated with a secondary decrease in cerebral perfusion. In rats subjected to CHI, pentobarbital was unable to lower the cerebral metabolic demand and did not cause a further decrease in perfusion. Pentobarbital was unable to significantly modulate mitochondrial function in traumatized rats, whereas it exerted this effect in all control animals. We therefore conclude that, in rats subjected to CHI, pentobarbital is unable to perform its beneficial effects on the cerebral metabolism.