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Central nervous system oxygen toxicity, decongestant, diving, hyperbaric oxygen, pseudoephedrine, sex differences

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Tonic–clonic seizures typify central nervous system oxygen toxicity (CNS-OT) in humans and animals exposed to high levels of oxygen, as are encountered during scuba diving. We previously demonstrated that high doses of pseudoephedrine (PSE) decrease the latency to seizure (LS) for CNS-OT in young male rats. This study investigated whether female rats respond similarly to PSE and hyperbaric oxygen (HBO). We implanted 60 virgin stock (VS) and 54 former breeder (FB) female rats with radio-telemetry devices that measured brain electrical activity. One week later, rats were gavaged with saline or PSE in saline (40, 80, 120, 160, or 320 mg/kg) before diving to five atmospheres absolute in 100% oxygen. The time between reaching maximum pressure and exhibiting seizure was LS. Vaginal smears identified estrus cycle phase. PSE did not decrease LS for VS or FB, primarily because they exhibited low LS for all conditions tested. VS had shorter LS than males at 0, 40, and 80 mg/kg (−42, −49, and −57%, respectively). FB also had shorter LS than males at 0, 40, and 80 mg/kg (−60, −86, and −73%, respectively). FB were older than VS (286 ± 10 days vs. 128 ± 5 days) and weighed more than VS (299 ± 2.7 g vs. 272 ± 2.1 g). Males tested were younger (88 ± 2 days), heavier (340 ± 4.5 g), and gained more weight postoperatively (7.2 ± 1.6 g) than either VS (−0.4 ± 1.5 g) or FB (−1.6 ± 1.5 g); however, LS correlated poorly with age, body mass, change in body mass, and estrus cycle phase. We hypothesize that differences in sex hormones underlie females' higher susceptibility to CNS-OT than males.

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Physiological Reports, v. 2, issue 4, art. e00282