The present studies describes the relationship between extracellular dopamine in striatum of newborn piglets and cortical oxygen pressure. The extracellular level of dopamine was measured by in vivo microdialysis and the oxygen pressure in the cortex was measured by phosphorescence lifetime of oxygen probe in the blood. Controlled, graded levels of hypoxic insult to the brain of animals were generated by decreasing of the oxygen fraction in the inspired gas (FiO2) from 21% to 14%, 11%, and 9%. This resulted in decrease in the cortical oxygen pressure from 31-35 Torr to about 24 Torr, 15 Torr and 4 Torr, respectively. The changes in extracellular level of dopamine, DOPAC and HVA were dependent on changes in cortical oxygen pressure. Stepwise decrease in the cortical oxygen pressure (see above) caused increases in extracellular dopamine of about 80%, 200% and 550%, respectively. The levels of DOPAC and HVA progressively decreased and when cortical oxygen decreased to 4-6 Torr were about 50% and 70% of control. respectively. After return of FiO2 to control (21%), the cortical oxygen pressure rapidly increased to above normal, then returned to control values. The extracellular levels of dopamine, DOPAC, and HVA recovered more slowly, attaining control values in about 30 minutes. The data show that extracellular levels of dopamine increase with even very small decreases in oxygen pressure. Thus, there is no "oxygen reserve" which protects dopamine release and metabolism from decrease in oxygen pressure.
- Cortical oxygen pressure
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