Anesthetized rats were subjected to a moderate degree of hemorrhagic shock, lowering their mean arterial pressure to approximately 50 mm Hg for approximately 100 min. At the end of the shock period, resting skeletal muscle transmembrane potentials had depolarized from a baseline value of -82 mV to -65 mV; intracellular water had increased by 13%; and intracellular sodium and chloride contents had doubled. Eight rats were then given an infusion of very hypertonic saline (2400 mOsmole/kg, calculated osmolality) in a volume equal to only 10% of the volume of shed blood; another eight rats were given the equivalent amount of sodium and chloride in an isotonic solution (volume equal to 80% of shed blood). The mean arterial pressure in the rats that were given the very hypertonic saline returned to 81 mm Hg, compared to 55 mm Hg in the animals given normal saline. The membrane potentials in the hypertonic group polarized back to near normal- -78 mv-compared to no changes in the normal saline group. Intracellular water returned to preshock values in the hypertonic group as did intracellular sodium and chloride contents. Cellular contents in the normal saline group remained at shock levels. It was concluded that, in rats, infusion of small amounts of hypertonic saline can reverse some of the cellular abnormalities induced by hemorrhagic shock.
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