Ultrastructural characteristics of the brain and blood-brain barrier in experimental seizures

Brain Res. 1977 May 27;127(2):251-67. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(77)90539-x.


During experimental seizures, the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is broken; tracer substances such as I131-albumin, Evans blue and horseradish peroxidase (HRP) geographically locate the barrier breakdown primarily in the diencephalon. Using rats, we have induced seizures with electroshocks and demonstrated the breakdown of the BBB with Evans blue and HRP. We have shown that (1) the BBB breakdown is proportional to the number of electroconvulsant shocks (ES) given; (2) the mechanism of increased barrier permeability is primarily by micropinocytosis in the cerebral capillaries, arterioles, and, to a lesser extent, venules; and (3) the stimulus for micropinocytosis and hence BBB breakdown is associated with the abrupt rise in systemic blood pressure and cerebral vasodilatation that accompanies each ES. If the systolic hypertension is abolished via cervical cordotomy, there is little to no breakdown in the BBB.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure
  • Blood-Brain Barrier*
  • Brain / ultrastructure*
  • Capillaries / ultrastructure
  • Cerebral Arteries / ultrastructure
  • Extracellular Space / ultrastructure
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Male
  • Pinocytosis
  • Rats
  • Seizures / pathology*
  • Seizures / physiopathology
  • Veins / ultrastructure


  • Horseradish Peroxidase