Reversal of nitrogen narcosis in rats by helium pressure

Undersea Biomed Res. 1976 Sep;3(3):249-59.


Changes in operant behavior were obtained for rats breathing nitrogen, helium, and both gases combined. Exposure to 12.9 ATA of nitrogen (O2 maintained at normobaric value of 0.2 ATA) produced complete cessation of responding on a fixed-ratio reinforcement schedule for 1 hour. The addition of elevated pressure of helium (12.1, 18.2, and 24.2 ATA) to the 12.9 ATA of nitrogen resulted in a reinstatement of responding during 1-hour hyperbaric exposures. The reinstatement of responding indicated a reversal of the nitrogen effects on behavior by increased helium pressures. The functional changes in behavior appeared to parallel the pressure produced reversal of anesthesia obtained at much higher pressures.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atmosphere Exposure Chambers
  • Conditioning, Operant
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Helium / therapeutic use*
  • Inert Gas Narcosis / therapy*
  • Male


  • Helium