Prevention of brain demyelination in rats after excessive correction of chronic hyponatremia by serum sodium lowering

Kidney Int. 1994 Jan;45(1):193-200. doi: 10.1038/ki.1994.23.


Brain myelinolysis occurs after correction of chronic hyponatremia in rats when the magnitude of increase in serum sodium (delta SNa) exceeds 20 to 25 mEq/liter/24 hr (the critical threshold for brain). We tested the hypothesis that after a sustained excessive correction, brain lesions (BL) could be prevented by subsequently decreasing the serum sodium below the critical threshold for brain through the administration of hypotonic fluids. After three days of severe (< 115 mEq/liter) chronic (3 days) hyponatremia, 55 rats were submitted to an excessive correction (delta SNa > 25 mEq/liter) by a single i.p. infusion of hypertonic saline (NaCl). This osmotic stress was maintained during 12 hours before the serum sodium decrease was initiated. Thirty-two rats reached the twelfth post-correction hour without symptoms. In group 1 after a large (delta SNa 32 mEq/liter) and sustained (12 hr) osmotic stress, the natremia was rapidly (2 hr) decreased by the administration of oral tap water and, at the end of the first 24 hours, the magnitude of correction was maintained below 20 mEq/liter/24 hr. All the rats fared well in this group and were free of neurologic symptoms. Mild BL were noticed in only 20% of them. On the contrary, in controls (no hypotonic fluids administration at the twelfth hour) whose serum sodium was left overcorrected, all the rats became symptomatic and 57% of them died rapidly. Brain damage developed in 100% of the surviving rats. In group 2, despite hypotonic fluids administration, the serum sodium decreased insufficiently and the correction was > 20 mEq/liter at the end of the first 24 hours (delta SNa 25 mEq/liter).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Diseases / chemically induced
  • Brain Diseases / pathology
  • Brain Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Demyelinating Diseases / chemically induced
  • Demyelinating Diseases / pathology
  • Demyelinating Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Hyponatremia / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic / adverse effects
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic / therapeutic use*
  • Sodium / blood*


  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic
  • Sodium