Metabolic and neurophysiologic sequelae of brain injury: A cholinergic hypothesis

R. L. Hayes, H. H. Stonnington, Bruce G Lyeth, C. E. Dixon, T. Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This paper reviews a number of lines of evidence developed in our laboratories indicating that at least some components of neurologic disturbances following concussion may be attributable to increased functional activity of cholinergic systems located within specific brain regions. These lines of evidence include EEG studies indicating that disruption of the reticular activating system is not necessary for production of a reversible, flaccid, comatose state following low levels of concussion, systematic transection studies indicating that regions bounded by collicular and midpontine transections may contribute to at least motor components of the behavioral suppression associated with concussion, local rates of glucose utilization following fluid percussion injury increase in restricted areas bounded by collicular and midpontine transections; microinjection of carbachol (but not tetracaine) into these hypermetabolic regions produced behavioral suppression and electroencephalographic changes resembling those following concussion, systemic administration or microinjections of atropine, but not mecamylamine, antagonized the behavioral effects of carbachol, and data indicating that pharmacologic blockage of muscarinic cholinergic systems can attenuate neurologic deficits. Taken in conjunction with data from earlier clinical and laboratory studies, our research also indicates that anticholinergic therapy may potentially benefit head-injured patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalCentral Nervous System Trauma
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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