Ultrastructural characteristics of the brain and blood-brain barrier in experimental seizures

Carol K. Petito, John A. Schaefer, Fred Plum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


During experimental seizures, the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is broken; tracer substances such as I131-albumin, Evans blue and horseradish peroxidase (HRP) geographically locate the barrier breakdown primarily in the diencephalon. Using rats, we have induced seizures with electroshocks and demonstrated the breakdown of the BBB with Evans blue and HRP. We have shown that (1) the BBB breakdown is proportional to the number of electroconvulsant shocks (ES) given; (2) the mechanism of increased barrier permeability is primarily by micropinocytosis in the cerebral capillaries, arterioles, and, to a lesser extent, venules; and (3) the stimulus for micropinocytosis and hence BBB breakdown is associated with the abrupt rise in systemic blood pressure and cerebral vasodilatation that accompanies each ES. If the systolic hypertension is abolished via cervical cordotomy, there is little to no breakdown in the BBB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-267
Number of pages17
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 27 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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