Cortical Spreading Depolarization (CSD) Recorded from Intact Skin, from Surface of Dura Mater or Cortex: Comparison with Intracortical Recordings in the Neocortex of Adult Rats

  • A. Lehmenkühler
  • F. RichterEmail author
Original Paper


In cerebral cortex of anesthetized rats single waves of spreading depolarization (CSD) were elicited by needle prick. CSD-related changes of DC (direct current) potentials were either recorded from the intact skin or together with concomitant changes of potassium concentration with K+-selective microelectrodes simultaneously at the surface of the dura mater or of the cortex ([K+]s) and in the extracellular space at a cortical depth of 1200 µm. At the intact skin CSD-related DC-shifts had amplitudes of less than 1 mV and had only in a minority of cases the typical CSD-like shape. In the majority these DC-shifts rose and recovered very slowly and were difficult to identify without further indicators. At dura surface CSD-related DC shifts were significantly smaller and rose and recovered slower than intracortically recorded CSD. Concomitant increases in [K+]s were delayed and reached maximal values of about 5 mM from a baseline of 3 mM. They rose and recovered slower than simultaneously recorded intracortical changes in extracellular potassium concentration ([K+]e) that were up to 65 mM. The results suggest that extracellular potassium during CSD is diffusing through the subarachnoid space and across the dura mater. In a few cases CSD was either absent at the dura or at a depth of 1200 µm. Even full blown CSDs in this cortical depth could remain without concomitant deflections at the dura. Our data confirmed in principle the possibility of non-invasive recordings of CSD-related DC-shifts. For a use in clinical routine sensitivity and specificity will have to be improved.


Spreading depression Dura mater Extracellular K+ concentration Ion-selective microelectrode Non-invasive recording 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Medical EducationDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Physiology I/NeurophysiologyUniversity Hospital Jena – Friedrich Schiller University JenaJenaGermany

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