Vision: modular analysis--or not?
It has commonly been assumed that the many separate areas of the visual system perform modular analyses, each restricted to a single attribute of the image. A recent paper advocates a radically different approach, where all areas in the hierarchy analyse all attributes of the image to extract perceptually relevant decisions. (+info
Effect of the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN55212-2 on sympathetic cardiovascular regulation.
1. The aim of the present study was to analyse the cardiovascular actions of the synthetic CB1/CB2 cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN55212-2, and specifically to determine its sites of action on sympathetic cardiovascular regulation. 2. Pithed rabbits in which the sympathetic outflow was continuously stimulated electrically or which received a pressor infusion of noradrenaline were used to study peripheral prejunctional and direct vascular effects, respectively. For studying effects on brain stem cardiovascular regulatory centres, drugs were administered into the cisterna cerebellomedullaris in conscious rabbits. Overall cardiovascular effects of the cannabinoid were studied in conscious rabbits with intravenous drug administration. 3. In pithed rabbits in which the sympathetic outflow was continuously electrically stimulated, intravenous injection of WIN55212-2 (5, 50 and 500 microg kg(-1)) markedly reduced blood pressure, the spillover of noradrenaline into plasma and the plasma noradrenaline concentration, and these effects were antagonized by the CB1 cannabinoid receptor-selective antagonist SR141716A. The hypotensive and the sympathoinhibitory effect of WIN55212-2 was shared by CP55940, another mixed CB1/CB2 cannabinoid receptor agonist, but not by WIN55212-3, the enantiomer of WIN55212-2, which lacks affinity for cannabinoid binding sites. WIN55212-2 had no effect on vascular tone established by infusion of noradrenaline in pithed rabbits. 4. Intracisternal application of WIN55212-2 (0.1, 1 and 10 microg kg(-1)) in conscious rabbits increased blood pressure and the plasma noradrenaline concentration and elicited bradycardia; this latter effect was antagonized by atropine. 5. In conscious animals, intravenous injection of WIN55212-2 (5 and 50 microg kg(-1)) caused bradycardia, slight hypotension, no change in the plasma noradrenaline concentration, and an increase in renal sympathetic nerve firing. The highest dose of WIN55212-2 (500 microg kg(-1)) elicited hypotension and tachycardia, and sympathetic nerve activity and the plasma noradrenaline concentration declined. 6. The results obtained in pithed rabbits indicate that activation of CB1 cannabinoid receptors leads to marked peripheral prejunctional inhibition of noradrenaline release from postganglionic sympathetic axons. Intracisternal application of WIN55212-2 uncovered two effects on brain stem cardiovascular centres: sympathoexcitation and activation of cardiac vagal fibres. The highest dose of systemically administered WIN55212-2 produced central sympathoinhibition; the primary site of this action is not known. (+info
ATP-sensitive potassium channels regulate in vivo dopamine release in rat striatum.
ATP-sensitive K+ channels (K(ATP)) are distributed in a variety of tissues including smooth muscle, cardiac and skeletal muscle, pancreatic beta-cells and neurons. Since K(ATP) channels are present in the nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) pathway, the effect of potassium-channel modulators on the release of DA in the striatum of conscious, freely-moving rats was investigated. The extracellular concentration of DA was significantly decreased by the K(ATP)-channel opener (-)-cromakalim but not by diazoxide. (-)-Cromakalim was effective at 100 and 1000 microM concentrations, and the maximum decrease was 54% below baseline. d-Amphetamine significantly increased extracellular DA levels at the doses of 0.75 and 1.5 mg/kg, s.c. with a 770% maximum increase. (-)-Cromakalim had no effect on d-amphetamine-induced DA release, while glyburide, a K(ATP) blocker, significantly potentiated the effects of a low dose of d-amphetamine. These data indicate that K+ channels present in the nigrostriatal dopaminergic terminals modulate basal release as well as evoked release of DA. (+info
Stroke units in their natural habitat: can results of randomized trials be reproduced in routine clinical practice? Riks-Stroke Collaboration.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials of acute stroke care have shown care in stroke units (SUs) to be superior to that in conventional general medical, neurological, or geriatric wards, with reductions in early case fatality, functional outcome, and the need for long-term institutionalization. This study examined whether these results can be reproduced in clinical practice. METHODS: A multicenter observational study of procedures and outcomes in acute stroke patients admitted to designated SUs or general medical or neurological wards (GWs), the study included patients of all ages with acute stroke excluding those with subarachnoid hemorrhage, who were entered into the Riks-Stroke (Swedish national quality assessment) database during 1996 (14 308 patients in 80 hospitals). RESULTS: Patients admitted to SUs who had lived independently and who were fully conscious on admission to the hospital had a lower case fatality than those cared for in GWs (relative risk [RR] for death, 0.87; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 to 0.96) and at 3 months (RR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.85 to 0.98). A greater proportion of patients cared for in an SU could be discharged home (RR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.10), and fewer were in long-term institutional care 3 months after the stroke (RR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.89 to 0.99). No difference was seen in outcome in patients cared for in SUs or GWs if they had impaired consciousness on admission. CONCLUSIONS: The improvement in outcomes after stroke care in SUs compared with care in GWs can be reproduced in the routine clinical setting, but the magnitude of the benefit appears smaller than that reported from meta-analyses. (+info
Assessment of the effects of endothelin-1 and magnesium sulphate on regional blood flows in conscious rats, by the coloured microsphere reference technique.
There is evidence to suggest that magnesium (Mg2+) is beneficial in the treatment of a number of conditions, including pre-eclampsia and acute myocardial infarction. The mode of action of Mg2+ in these conditions is not clear, although the vasodilator properties of Mg2+ are well documented both in vitro and in vivo. Previously, we demonstrated that i.v. infusion of magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) alone, or in the presence of vasoconstrictors, caused increases in flow and conductance in the common carotid, internal carotid and hindquarters vascular beds, in conscious rats. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to investigate the regional and subregional changes in haemodynamics in response to the vasoconstrictor peptide endothelin-1 (ET-1) and MgSO4 in more detail, using the coloured microsphere reference technique. Infusion of ET-1 and MgSO4 had similar effects on heart rate and mean arterial pressure as in our previous study. Infusion of ET-1 caused a rise in mean arterial pressure and a fall in heart rate, and infusion of MgSO4 returned mean arterial pressure to control levels with no effect on heart rate. The responses to MgSO4 in the presence of ET-1 showed considerable regional heterogeneity with blood flow increasing (e.g. skeletal muscle), decreasing (e.g. stomach) or not changing (e.g. kidney). Of particular interest was the finding that MgSO4 caused increases in flow in the cerebral and coronary vascular beds. This, and our previous studies, have shown that MgSO4 can reverse vasoconstriction in a number of vascular beds, and indicate that this compound may have therapeutic benefit in conditions associated with vasospasm. (+info
Propofol infusion for induction and maintenance of anaesthesia in patients with end-stage renal disease.
We have investigated the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of propofol in 11 patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) compared with nine healthy patients during and after a manually controlled three-stage infusion of propofol 21, 12 and 6 mg kg-1 h-1 lasting a minimum of 2 h. Mean total body clearance was not reduced significantly in the ESRD group (30.66 (SD 8.47) ml kg-1 min-1) compared with the control group (33.75 (7.8) ml kg-1 min-1). ESRD patients exhibited a greater, but not statistically significant, volume of distribution at steady state compared with patients in the control group (11.25 (8.86) vs 5.79 (2.14) litre kg-1, respectively). Elimination half-life values were unchanged by renal failure. Mean times to induction of anaesthesia were similar in both groups: 177 (SD 57) and 167 (58) s for the ESRD and control groups, respectively. Waking time after cessation of propofol infusion was significantly shorter in the ESRD group (474 (156) s) compared with the control group (714 (240) s) (P < 0.05). Mean plasma concentrations on waking were similar. We conclude that the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles of propofol after infusion were not markedly affected by renal failure. (+info
Cardiovascular effects of rilmenidine, moxonidine and clonidine in conscious wild-type and D79N alpha2A-adrenoceptor transgenic mice.
1. We investigated the cardiovascular effects of rilmenidine, moxonidine and clonidine in conscious wild-type and D79N alpha2A-adrenoceptor mice. The in vitro pharmacology of these agonists was determined at recombinant (human) alpha2-adrenoceptors and at endogenous (dog) alpha2A-adrenoceptors. 2. In wild-type mice, rilmenidine, moxonidine (100, 300 and 1000 microg kg(-1), i.v.) and clonidine (30, 100 and 300 microg kg(-1), i.v.) dose-dependently decreased blood pressure and heart rate. 3. In D79N alpha2A-adrenoceptor mice, responses to rilmenidine and moxonidine did not differ from vehicle control. Clonidine-induced hypotension was absent, but dose-dependent hypertension and bradycardia were observed. 4. In wild-type mice, responses to moxonidine (1 mg kg(-1), i.v.) were antagonized by the non-selective, non-imidazoline alpha2-adrenoceptor antagonist, RS-79948-197 (1 mg kg(-1), i.v.). 5. Affinity estimates (pKi) at human alpha2A-, alpha2B- and alpha2C-adrenoceptors, respectively, were: rilmenidine (5.80, 5.76 and 5.33), moxonidine (5.37, <5 and <5) and clonidine (7.21, 7.16 and 6.87). In a [35S]-GTPgammaS incorporation assay, moxonidine and clonidine were alpha2A-adrenoceptor agonists (pEC50/intrinsic activity relative to noradrenaline): moxonidine (5.74/0.85) and clonidine (7.57/0.32). 6. In dog saphenous vein, concentration-dependent contractions were observed (pEC50/intrinsic activity relative to noradrenaline): rilmenidine (5.83/0.70), moxonidine (6.48/0.98) and clonidine (7.22/0.83). Agonist-independent affinities were obtained with RS-79948-197. 7. Thus, expression of alpha2A-adrenoceptors is a prerequisite for the cardiovascular effects of moxonidine and rilmenidine in conscious mice. There was no evidence of I1-imidazoline receptor-mediated effects. The ability of these compounds to act as alpha2A-adrenoceptor agonists in vitro supports this conclusion. (+info
Neuroimaging of genesis and satiation of thirst and an interoceptor-driven theory of origins of primary consciousness.
There are defined hypothalamic functions in the genesis of thirst, but little is known of the cortical processes subserving consciousness of thirst notwithstanding the medical disorders that occur in psychiatric illness, addiction, and the attested decline of thirst with aging. In 10 adult males, positron emission tomography scans were made (i) during genesis of moderate thirst by infusion of i.v. hypertonic saline 0.51 M, (ii) after irrigation of the mouth with water to remove the sensation of dryness, and (iii) 3, 14, 45, and 60 minutes after drinking water to fully satiate thirst. The correlation of regional cerebral blood flow with thirst score showed the major activation to be in the posterior cingulate. Maximum thirst sensation evoked 13 highly significant activations and 9 deactivations in cingulate and parahippocampal gyri, insula, thalamus, amygdala, and mesencephalon. It is possible that cingulate sites (Brodmann's areas 32, 24, and 31) that persisted with wet mouth but disappeared immediately after drinking to satiation may have an important role in the consciousness of thirst. Consciousness of thirst, a primal vegetative emotion, and satiation of thirst appear to be subserved by phylogenetically ancient brain regions. This is salient to current discussion on evolutionary emergence of primary consciousness. (+info