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J Neurotrauma. 2009 Mar;26(3):301-12. doi: 10.1089/neu.2008.0806.

Protection in animal models of brain and spinal cord injury with mild to moderate hypothermia.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Surgery, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33136-1060, USA. ddietrich@miami.edu

Abstract

For the past 20 years, various laboratories throughout the world have shown that mild to moderate levels of hypothermia lead to neuroprotection and improved functional outcome in various models of brain and spinal cord injury (SCI). Although the potential neuroprotective effects of profound hypothermia during and following central nervous system (CNS) injury have long been recognized, more recent studies have described clinically feasible strategies for protecting the brain and spinal cord using hypothermia following a variety of CNS insults. In some cases, only a one or two degree decrease in brain or core temperature can be effective in protecting the CNS from injury. Alternatively, raising brain temperature only a couple of degrees above normothermia levels worsens outcome in a variety of injury models. Based on these data, resurgence has occurred in the potential use of therapeutic hypothermia in experimental and clinical settings. The study of therapeutic hypothermia is now an international area of investigation with scientists and clinicians from every part of the world contributing to this important, promising therapeutic intervention. This paper reviews the experimental data obtained in animal models of brain and SCI demonstrating the benefits of mild to moderate hypothermia. These studies have provided critical data for the translation of this therapy to the clinical arena. The mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of mild hypothermia are also summarized.

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