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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1990 May;10(3):365-74.

The influence of mild body and brain hypothermia on ischemic brain damage.

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Laboratory for Experimental Brain Research, University of Lund, Sweden.


The influence of brain and body temperature on ischemic brain damage, notably on the density and distribution of selective neuronal vulnerability, was studied in SPF-Wistar rats subjected to 15 min of forebrain ischemia induced by bilateral occlusion of the common carotid arteries combined with arterial hypotension (50 mm Hg) in a room air environment. In one group of animals, the body temperature was maintained at 37 degrees C but no attempt was made to prevent heat losses from the ischemic brain; i.e., the head was not heated during ischemia. Under those conditions the temperature of the caudoputamen and at a subcutaneous site over the skull bone spontaneously fell to approximately 32 degrees C. In four other groups, both the rectal and the subcutaneous skull temperatures were maintained at 38, 37, 35, and 33 degrees C during the ischemia. Our results confirm those recently reported when brain temperature was varied during 20 min of ischemia, with body temperature kept constant. Thus, the histopathological outcome of the brain damage, as assessed after 7 days of recovery, was strongly temperature dependent. Whereas ischemia at 37-38 degrees C consistently caused neuronal necrosis in the hippocampus, neocortex, and caudoputamen, spontaneous cooling of the brain during ischemia at a rectal temperature of 37 degrees C significantly reduced the ischemic damage. Intentional lowering of temperature to 35 degrees C markedly reduced and to 33 degrees C virtually prevented neuronal necrosis in some but not all of the regions studied. While damage to the caudoputamen was extremely temperature sensitive, that affecting the CA1 sector of the hippocampus, and particularly the lateral reticular nucleus of the thalamus, was less so. Our results suggest that whatever biochemical events are responsible for selective neuronal vulnerability, they are temperature sensitive; however, since there are differences in sensitivity between different parts of the brain, more than one mechanism may be involved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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