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Neurobiol Dis. 2006 Sep;23(3):637-43. Epub 2006 Jul 7.

Cooling produces minimal neuropathology in neocortex and hippocampus.

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Department of Neurology-Box 8111, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Cooling is a potential treatment for several neurological diseases. We have examined rodent and cat neocortex, cooled to 5 and 3 degrees C, respectively, to identify a lower limit for safely cooling brain. Rat neocortex, intermittently cooled with a thermoelectric device for 2 h, showed no signs of neuronal injury after cresyl violet or TUNEL staining. Neurons were also preserved in cat cortex cooled for up to 2 h daily for 10 months. Cooled rat and cat cortex showed glial proliferation, but this was also observed in sham-operated rat cortex. When hippocampal slices from mice expressing the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) in neurons were cooled to 5 degrees C, but not higher temperatures, we saw reversible dendritic beading and spine loss after 15-30 min. While there may be biochemical and functional alterations in brain cooled as low as 5 degrees C, the neuropathological consequences of brain cooling appear to be insignificant.

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