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J Neurotrauma. 1993 Spring;10(1):57-64.

Behavioral protection by moderate hypothermia initiated after experimental traumatic brain injury.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.


The effects of postinjury hypothermia on behavioral outcome following moderate fluid percussion traumatic brain injury (TBI) were examined. In Experiment I, three groups of rats were examined. The first group was normothermic (37.5 degrees C); and hypothermia (30 degrees C) was initiated 15 min and 30 min postinjury in the second and third groups, respectively. Whole body cooling was achieved by ventral ice pack. Cooling of the brain to 30 degrees C was achieved in 25 min and maintained for 60 min. Brain temperature was measured indirectly by a probe in the temporalis muscle. Behavioral outcome was assessed by beam-balance performance, beam-walking performance, and body weight loss measured daily for 5 days after TBI. Both the normothermic group and the 30-min postinjury hypothermic group exhibited significant (p < 0.05) beam-balance and beam-walking deficits on days 1 through 5 after TBI. In contrast, the 15-min postinjury hypothermic group exhibited significant (p < 0.05) beam-walking deficits only on day 1 after TBI and significant (p < 0.05) beam-balance deficits on days 1, 3, and 4 after TBI. In Experiment II, subcortical brain temperature was compared to temporalis muscle temperature in normothermic (37.5 degrees C) and hypothermic (30 degrees C) rats subjected to TBI. In both groups brain temperature tracked within 0.4 degree C of temporalis muscle temperature. These results are similar to post-TBI excitatory receptor antagonist studies and indicate a therapeutic window for moderate hypothermia of less than 30 min after moderate fluid percussion TBI in the rat.

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