Glutamate Release and Cerebral Blood Flow after Severe Human Head Injury

A. Zauner, R. Bullock, A. J. Kuta, J. Woodward, H. F. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Elevations of extracellular glutamate have been found in patients with prolonged brain ischemia and focal cerebral contusions, following severe head injury. About 30% of severely head injured patients develop cerebral ischemia, defined as CBF < 18 ml/100g/min. Patients with both global and regional cerebral ischemia have the worst outcome. However, the relationship between CBF and EAA release is not well understood in head injured humans, and may differ from the findings in normal animals. To study the relationship between EAA release and CBF after severe head injury, we performed cerebral blood flow measurements using stable xenon enhanced computed tomography and correlated these with glutamate release in the extracellular fluid, measured by continuous microdialysis, in 25 severely head injured patients. Sustained cerebral blood flow reductions below the threshold for ischemic neuronal damage was closely related to massive excitatory amino acid release, as in previous animal studies. In patients without secondary ischemia, or focal contusions, delayed post-traumatic glutamate release appeared to be only transient or did not occur at all.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
JournalActa Neurochirurgica, Supplement
Issue number67
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • Brain ischemia
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Extracellular glutamate release
  • Severe head injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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