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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2007 Sep;101(1):3-17. Epub 2007 Apr 12.

Brain temperature fluctuations during physiological and pathological conditions.

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Behavioral Neuroscience Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Intramural Research Program, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


This review discusses brain temperature as a physiological parameter, which is determined primarily by neural metabolism, regulated by cerebral blood flow, and affected by various environmental factors and drugs. First, we consider normal fluctuations in brain temperature that are induced by salient environmental stimuli and occur during motivated behavior at stable normothermic conditions. Second, we analyze changes in brain temperature induced by various drugs that affect brain and body metabolism and heat dissipation. Third, we consider how these physiological and drug-induced changes in brain temperature are modulated by environmental conditions that diminish heat dissipation. Our focus is psychomotor stimulant drugs and brain hyperthermia as a factor inducing or potentiating neurotoxicity. Finally, we discuss how brain temperature is regulated, what changes in brain temperature reflect, and how these changes may affect neural functions under normal and pathological conditions. Although most discussed data were obtained in animals and several important aspects of brain temperature regulation in humans remain unknown, our focus is on the relevance of these data for human physiology and pathology.

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