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The effects of raising intracranial pressure on breathing movements, eye movements and electrocortical activity in fetal sheep



The effects of raising intracranial pressure on breathing movements, eye movements and electrocortical activity in fetal sheep



Journal of Developmental Physiology 8(2): 105-116



Extra-dural or cerebroventricular intracranial pressure was measured in 7 unanesthetized fetal sheep (123-137 days gestation). Basal intracranial pressure was 6.7 .+-. 1.7 mmHg, but there were many transient increases of pressure in association with spontaneous changes of amniotic pressure, fetal intrathoracic pressure, and particularly when the fetal nuchal muscles were active. These spontaneous increases of intracranial pressure were often associated with cessation of breathing movements and change of the electrocorticogram from low to high voltage activity. To test whether increased intracranial pressure influenced breathing movements and electrocortical activity, intracranial pressure was raised either by occluding the superior vena cava for 1 min with an implanted extravascular cuff, or by extra-dural injection of 0.3-1.0 ml of 0.9% NaCl. Increasing the intracranial pressure 5-15 mmHg by either method during low voltage electrocortical activity caused cessation of breathing movements, electro-ocular activity, and change of the electrocorticogram from low to high voltage in a significant proportion of trials. We propose that natural fluctuations of intracranial pressure caused by compression of the fetal body or skull, by body movements or by uterine activity, may cause changes in electrocortical activity and breathing movements.

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Accession: 006667021

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PMID: 3701002



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