Tissue ammonia and amino acids in rats at various oxygen pressures

A. K. Singh, E. W. Banister

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The amino acid and ammonia profiles in various tissues of the rat exposed to different pressures of pure oxygen have been studied. Well-defined changes in behavioral activity accompanied a profile of increasing pressure, culminating in convulsive activity in each group of exposed animals. After an initial depression of ammonia, in all tissues studied at 0.68 atm oxygen ammonia increased significantly at higher oxygen pressures. A rise in tissue ammonia took place in the absence of undue muscular activity on the part of the exposed animals. A significant increase in ammonia occurred first in brain and liver at 3.40 atm. Ammonia concentration was high in all tissues after convulsions occurred at 3.08 atm. Between 0.68 and 2.72 atm oxygen, tissue ammonia concentration was generally low and brain glutamate and γ-aminobutyric acid were high. At pressures higher than 2.72 atm oxygen, tissue glutamate declined and glutamine increased. Alanine became significantly elevated in serum and muscle at high oxygen pressure, and aspartate was depressed in heart, liver, and muscle. These pressure-course experiments on ammonia accumulation in tissue confirm previous serial time course observations that ammonia accumulates in the brain and several tissues of the rat even in the absence of undue muscular activity during high-pressure oxygen exposure and is a significant factor in inducing convulsions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-444
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology Respiratory Environmental and Exercise Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983


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