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Considerable controversy exists about whether postischemic hypothermia can permanently salvage hippocampal CA1 neurons or just postpone injury. Studies of very brief cooling in rat have found transient benefit, whereas experiments in gerbil using protracted hypothermia report lasting protection. This discrepancy might be because of the greater efficacy of longer cooling or it might, for example, represent an important species difference. In the present study, a 48-hour period of mild hypothermia was induced starting 6 hours after 10 minutes of severe four-vessel occlusion ischemia in rats. Untreated normothermic ischemia resulted in total CA1 cell loss (99%), whereas delayed hypothermia treatment reduced neuronal loss to 14% at a 28-day survival. In unregulated rats, brain temperature spontaneously fell during ischemia, and stayed subnormal for an extended period after ischemia. This mild cooling resulted in more variable and less severe CA1 injury (75%). Finally, vertebral artery cauterization under halothane anesthesia caused an approximately 2 degrees C drop in brain temperature for 1 hour, but prevention of this hypothermia did not significantly affect CA1 damage. In summary, protracted postischemic hypothermia provided robust and long-term CA1 protection in rat. These results encourage the clinical assessment of prolonged hypothermia and its use as a model to understand ischemic CA1 injury.

Original publication




Journal article


J Cereb Blood Flow Metab

Publication Date





742 - 749


Animals, Brain Ischemia, Hippocampus, Hypothermia, Male, Neurons, Prosencephalon, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Time Factors