Acute hyperammonemia in the young primate: Physiologic and neuropathologic correlates

Theresa M. Voorhies, Michelle E. Ehrlich, Thomas E. Duffy, Carol K. Petito, Fred Plum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Infusion-induced acute (≤ 24 h) hyperammonemia to concentrations up to five times normal (0.19 ± 0.03 versus 0.90 ± 0.08 mM) was studied in eleven 6-9-month-old Macaca mullata. The young primates developed a progressive reduction of consciousness that correlated in severity directly with the elevation of blood ammonia concentration. Hyperventilation, electroencephalographic slowing, occasional seizure activity, and, eventually, apneustic breathing also occurred. Intracranial pressure rose from 76 ± 7 to 167 ± 12 mmH2O. Arterial oxygen and blood pressure remained within normal limits. Neuropathologic examination showed early astrocytic changes, consisting primarily of swollen perikaryal cytoplasm and processes, and membranous whorls. The absence of neuronal pathology suggests that the acute, limited insult, as occurs in many of the childhood hyperammonemic syndromes, is fully reversible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)970-975
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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