An in vivo study of skeletal muscle paralysis induced by intravenous barium chloride has been made in curarized and non-curarized rats. The influence of potassium and calcium chlorides, propranolol, ouabain, and prior adrenalectomy on the paralysis has also been studied. Paralysis is found to be due to a direct effect on skeletal muscle, and to correlate well with the development of hypokalaemia. Possible mechanisms of action of barium are discussed, and attention is drawn to the similarity between barium poisoning and hypokalaemic familial periodic paralysis.
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