Osmotherapy With Hypertonic Saline Attenuates Global Cerebral Edema Following Experimental Cardiac Arrest via Perivascular Pool of Aquaporin-4

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We tested the hypothesis that osmotherapy with hypertonic saline attenuates cerebral edema following experimental cardiac arrest and cardiopulmonary resuscitation by exerting its effect via the perivascular pool of aquaporin-4. We used mice with targeted disruption of the gene encoding α-syntrophin (α-Syn–/–) that demonstrate diminished perivascular aquaporin-4 pool but retain the non-endfoot and ependymal pools.


Laboratory animal study.


University animal research laboratory.


Isoflurane-anesthetized adult male wild-type C57B/6 or α-Syn–/– mice were subjected to cardiac arrest/cardiopulmonary resuscitation and treated with either a continuous IV infusion of 0.9% saline or various concentrations of hypertonic saline. Serum osmolality, regional brain water content, blood-brain barrier disruption, and aquaporin-4 protein expression were determined at 24 hours after cardiac arrest/cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Measurements and Main Results:

Hypertonic saline (7.5%) treatment significantly attenuated water content in the caudoputamen complex and cortex compared with 0.9% saline treatment in wild-type mice subjected to cardiac arrest/cardiopulmonary resuscitation. In contrast, in α-Syn–/– mice subjected to cardiac arrest/cardiopulmonary resuscitation, 7.5% hypertonic saline treatment did not attenuate water content. Treatment with 7.5% hypertonic saline attenuated blood-brain barrier disruption at 24 hours following cardiac arrest/cardiopulmonary resuscitation in wild-type mice but not in α-Syn–/– mice. Total aquaporin-4 protein expression was not different between 0.9% saline and hypertonic saline–treated wild-type mice.


Following experimental cardiac arrest/cardiopulmonary resuscitation: 1) continuous hypertonic saline therapy maintained to achieve serum osmolality of ≈ 350 mOsm/L is beneficial for the treatment of cerebral edema; 2) perivascular pool of aquaporin-4 plays a critical role in water egress from brain; and 3) hypertonic saline attenuates blood-brain barrier disruption via perivascular aquaporin-4 pool.

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