Sodium nitroprusside (SNP) hypotension: intracranial pressure (ICP) and hemodynamics in pial arteriole in the rat

Microcirc Endothelium Lymphatics. 1990 Aug-Oct;6(4-5):315-41.


A detailed description is made of an acute closed cranial window method. The method is used for the study of cerebral pial microcirculation by intravital microscopy in the rat. Using these methods and techniques, the effects of systemic hypotension by SNP, i.v., on pial microvessel hemodynamics and on ICP were simultaneously measured and characterized under normophysiological conditions. The pH, PO2, PCO2 and temperature of the artificial cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the closed cranial window, intermittently measured, remained relatively constant, 30 to 60 min following the period of stabilization of the preparation. The infusion of SNP (6.2-35.0 micrograms/kg/min, 0.02% sol., i.v.) significantly decreased BP (52.1 +/- 13.4 mm Hg, mean +/- SD). From measurement of microvessels internal diameter (I. D.) and microhemodynamics, significant increases in pial arteriolar I.D. (from 35.4 +/- 10.1, microns, to 47.1 +/- 5.7, microns, mean and S.D., 33.0%) and estimated bulk flow (51.2%), occurred during the hypotension. The changes in hemodynamic parameter were predominantly in the arteriolar system. Only minimal changes in the venular diameter occurred during the SNP hypotension. The observed moderate (22.0%) increase in ICP during SNP hypotension in pentobarbital anesthetized rat correlates well with the microhemodynamic changes of the cerebral microcirculatory system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arterioles / drug effects*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hypotension / chemically induced*
  • Hypotension / physiopathology
  • Intracranial Pressure / drug effects*
  • Microcirculation / drug effects
  • Nitroprusside / pharmacology
  • Nitroprusside / toxicity*
  • Photomicrography / instrumentation
  • Pia Mater / blood supply*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Skin Window Technique


  • Nitroprusside