We previously demonstrated that the caudoputamen was exclusively further damaged by hypocapnia in a rat with chronic cerebral hypoperfusion which is characterized by white matter lesions (WML) and a well-established model for patients with cerebrovascular diseases and/or dementia, and suggest that this process may be the cause of long lasting postoperative delirium or brain dysfunction in such patients. In the present study, we investigated whether ketamine, a non-competitive N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist, could attenuate the neuronal damage in the caudoputamen. Ketamine, at doses of 10 and 20 mg/kg, which was given intraperitoneally before hypocapnia induction, attenuated the aggravation of WML score, neuronal damage, and astroglial proliferation in the rat caudoputamen. These results suggest that ketamine may be beneficial for preventing postoperative brain dysfunction, especially in patients with cerebrovascular diseases and/or dementia induced by hypocapnia, which is likely to occur in the mechanical ventilation used during surgery.
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