Changes in blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability and cerebral metabolic activity following intravenous injection of kainic acid (KA; 6, 12 mg/Kg) in rats were assessed by calculating respectively a blood-to-brain transfer constant (Ki) for [14C]alpha-aminoisobutyric acid and local cerebral glucose utilization (LCGU) values, at different times (1 h, or acute seizures phase, and 48 h, or chronic pathology phase) after the induction of seizures. A significant increase in the local permeability of the BBB was observed 1 h after the injection of KA 6 mg/Kg (eliciting no significant changes in cerebral metabolic activity, except within the frontal cortex and the hippocampus) and 12 mg/Kg (which induced a marked and widespread enhancement of LCGU). On the contrary, during the pathology phase, persistent regional increases in Ki values were evidenced in rats treated with the lowest dose of the convulsant, but not in rats injected with KA 12 mg/Kg (a dose able to cause extensive neuronal damage). Thus one can speculate that: 1) KA-induced regional changes in the permeability of the BBB are not correlated with changes in neuronal activity; 2) opening of the BBB is not reliably associated with neuronal injury.
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