Cardiac arrest (CA) patients exhibit learning and memory disabilities. These deficits suggest that synaptic dysfunction may underlie such disabilities. The hypothesis of the present study was that synaptic dysfunction occurs following CA and that this precedes cell death. To test this hypothesis, we used histopathological and electrophysiological markers in the hippocampus of rats subjected to CA. Evoked potentials (EP) were determined in the CA1 region of hippocampal slices harvested from animals subjected to CA or sham-operated rats by stimulating the Schaffer collaterals and recording in the CA1 pyramidal region. EP amplitudes were significantly attenuated by approximately 60% in hippocampal slices harvested from animals subjected to CA. Hippocampal slices harvested from sham rats exhibited normal long-term potentiation (LTP). In contrast, hippocampal slices harvested 24 h after CA exhibited no LTP response, even when no histopathological abnormalities were observed. These data suggest that synaptic dysfunction occurs before and without overt histopathology. We suggest that the synaptic dysfunction precedes and may be an early marker for delayed neuronal cell death in the hippocampus after CA.
- Cardiopulmonary arrest
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