ARMY MEDICAL RESEARCH AND NUTRITION LAB DENVER COLO
Previous studies have shown that abrupt translocation to high altitudes caused a cerebral edema in some humans. In this investigation Cebus apella monkeys were studied at sea level and 14,100 feet altitude to determine what extent cerebral spinal fluid dynamics, cerebral blood flow, and pathological changes of the brain and myocardium play in the pathogenesis of the symptoms of acute mountain sickness. Subhuman primates rapidly transported to 14,110 feet showed increased cerebral blood flow and increased cerebral spinal fluid pressure during the first five days of exposure to high altitude. Significant increases in the right ventriculartotal heart weight ratios occurred after 5 days. After 3 months this ratio increased approximately 15 over sea level control values. This change was greater than that found in dogs but less than that in rats or rabbits after prolonged exposure. A mild perivascular cerebral edema occurred in some monkeys at 14,110 feet from 1 to 5 days. Monkey cardiac muscles showed edematous capillary endothelial cells after acute exposure to altitude, while prolonged exposure also caused swollen mitochondria and sarcoplasmic reticula with separation of myofibrils. Author
Report on Research in Biomedical Sciences, Effects of Altitude on Myocardium of Animals.