Analysis of Electrical Brain Waves in Neurotoxicology: Gamma- Hydroxybutyrate

Abstract

Advances in computer technology have allowed quantification of the electroencephalogram (EEG) and expansion of quantitative EEG (qEEG) analysis in neurophysiology, as well as clinical neurology, with great success. Among the variety of techniques in this field, frequency (spectral) analysis using Fast Fourier Transforms (FFT) provides a sensitive tool for time-course studies of different compounds acting on particular neurotransmitter systems. Studies presented here include Electrocorticogram (ECoG) analysis following exposure to a glutamic acid analogue – domoic acid (DOM), psychoactive indole alkaloid – ibogaine, as well as cocaine and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). The ECoG was recorded in conscious rats via a tether and swivel system. The EEG signal frequency analysis revealed an association between slow-wave EEG activity delta and theta and the type of behavioral seizures following DOM administration. Analyses of power spectra obtained in rats exposed to cocaine alone or after pretreatment with ibogaine indicated the contribution of the serotonergic system in ibogaine mediated response to cocaine (increased power in alpha(1) band). Ibogaine also lowered the threshold for cocaine-induced electrographic seizures (increased power in the low-frequency bands, delta and theta). Daily intraperitoneal administration of cocaine for two weeks was associated with a reduction in slow-wave ECoG activity 24 hrs following the last injection when compared with controls. Similar decreased cortical activity in low-frequency bands observed in chronic cocaine users has been associated with reduced metabolic activity in the frontal cortex. The FFT analyses of power spectra relative to baseline indicated a significant energy increase over all except beta(2) frequency bands following exposure to 400 and 800 mg/kg GHB. The EEG alterations detected in rats following exposure to GHB resemble absence seizures observed in human petit mal epilepsy. Spectral analysis of the EEG signals combined with behavioral observations may prove to be a useful approach in studying chronic exposure to drugs of abuse and treatment of drug dependence.

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