Cell swelling and ion redistribution assessed with intrinsic optical signals

OTTO W. WITTE, HEIKE NIERMANN, KNUT HOLTHOFF
2001 Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências  
Cell volume changes are associated with alterations of intrinsic optical signals (IOS). In submerged brain slices in vitro, afferent stimulation induces an increase in light transmission. As assessed by measurement of the largely membrane impermeant ion tetramethylammonium (TMA) in the extracellular space, these IOS correlate with the extent and time course of the change of the extracellular space size. They have a high signal to noise ratio and allow measurements of IOS changes in the order of
more » ... ges in the order of a few percent. Under conditions of reduced net KCl uptake (low Cl solution) a directed spatial buffer mechanism (K syphoning) can be demonstrated in the neocortex with widening of the extracellular space in superficial layers associated with a reduced light transmission and an increase of extracellular K concentration. The nature of the IOS under pathophysiological conditions is less clear. Spreading depressions first cause an increase of light transmission, then a decrease. Such a decrease has also been observed following application of NMDA where it was associated with structural damage. Pharmacological analyses suggest that under physiological conditions changes of extracellular space size are mainly caused by astrocytic volume changes while with strong stimuli and under pathophysiological conditions also neuronal swelling occurs. With reflected light usually signals opposite to those observed with transmitted light are seen. Recording of IOS from interface slices gives very complex signals since under these conditions an increase of light transmission has been reported to be superimposed by a decrease of the signal due to mechanical lensing effects of the slice surface. Depending on the method of measurement and the exact conditions, several mechanisms may contribute to IOS. Under well defined conditions IOS are a useful supplementary tool to monitor changes of extracellular volume both in space and time.
doi:10.1590/s0001-37652001000300005 pmid:11600896 fatcat:thwleusa4jcetfrucbusban5wi