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J Neurotrauma. 2005 Aug;22(8):873-84.

Slow, medium, or fast re-warming following post-traumatic hypothermia therapy? An ultrastructural perspective.

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  • 1Anatomy, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences (IBLS), University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom.


It was hypothesized that rapid rather than slow re-warming following traumatic brain injury (TBI) and short-term hypothermia results in secondary, ultrastructural pathology. After stretch injury to the right optic nerve, adult guinea pigs were randomly allocated to one of six experimental groups. Either (1) sham (all procedures but not stretch-injured; n = 4); injured and (2) maintained at normal temporalis core temperature (38.5 degrees C) for 8 hours (n = 6); (3) cooled rapidly to 32.5 degrees C (temporalis temperature), maintained for 4 h and re-warmed to 38.5 degrees C at 1 degrees C rise every 10 min (fast; n = 6); (4) cooled and re-warmed at 1 degrees C rise every 20 min (medium; n = 6); (5) cooled and rewarmed at 1 degrees C rise every 40 min (slow; n = 6) before being killed 8 h after injury; and (6) uninjured animals (n = 6) cooled to 32.5 degrees C for 4 h and then re-warmed at 1 degrees C every 10 min before killing 4 h later. Tissue was processed for light immunocytochemistry (beta-APP and RMO-14) and ultrastructural stereology. In both uninjured and injured fast re-warmed animals, there was almost total loss of axonal microtubules (MT) and an increased number of neurofilaments (NF) within the axoplasm. In the former, there was also compaction of NF. The number of MT was reduced to 40% of control values, NFs were increased but were not compacted after medium rate re-warming. Following slow re-warming the axonal cytoskeleton did not differ from that in control animals. It is concluded that re-warming faster than 1 degrees C every 40 min following mild post-traumatic hypothermia induces secondary axonal pathology.

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