Author(s): Bauman RA, Elsayed N, Petras JM, Widholm J
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Abstract Exposure to blast overpressure can typically inflict generalized damage on major organ systems, especially gas-containing organs such as the lungs and the gastrointestinal tract. The purpose of the present study was to use rat's food intake and exercise wheel running as behavioral correlates of the perhaps more subtle damage to these organ systems induced by sublethal blast overpressure. Toward this end, all rats were exposed to a 12-h light/dark cycle and food was available only in the dark period. Prior to exposure, rats in the (E)xercise group were required to execute five rotations of an activity wheel for a food pellet; wheel turns that occurred at times other than when a rat was feeding were recorded separately and labeled exercise running. In the (S)edentary and (A)nesthesia groups, wheel running was not possible and rats were required to execute five leverpresses for a single pellet. A compressed air-driven shock tube was used to expose rats to a supra-atmospheric wave of air pressure. The tube was separated into two sections by a polyester membrane, the thickness of which determined peak and duration of overpressure. All rats were anesthetized with 50 mg/kg of phenobarbital. After reaching a deep plane of anesthesia, they were individually tied in a stockinet across one end of the shock tube. In preliminary tests, the membrane thickness was 1000 (A)ngstroms and rats in Group L(ethality) were exposed to a 129 kPa (peak amplitude) wave of overpressure. Three of six rats survived exposure to this peak pressure; pathology was evident in the lungs and gastrointestinal tract of all non-survivors. Rats in Groups E and S were tested with a 500 A membrane, which resulted in an 83 kPa peak amplitude. All rats survived exposure to this lower peak pressure. On the day of exposure to blast, the relative reduction of intake during the first 3 h of the dark period was significantly greater for Group E than for Groups S and A; the intake of Groups E and S remained reduced for four additional recovery days. Bodyweight was not significantly affected. Exercise wheel running also was reduced significantly on the day of exposure and during subsequent recovery days. These preliminary findings suggest that exposure to sublethal blast overpressure can reduce food consumption and exercise performance, perhaps as a consequence of damage to the gastrointestinal tract and lungs.
This article was published in Toxicology
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy