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Delayed but prolonged hypothermia persistently decreases cell death and functional deficits after global cerebral ischemia in rodents. Postischemic hypothermia also reduces infarction after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in rat. Because initial neuroprotection is sometimes transient and may not subserve functional recovery, especially on demanding tasks, the authors examined whether postischemic cooling would persistently reduce infarction and forelimb reaching deficits after MCAO. Male spontaneously hypertensive rats were trained to retrieve food pellets in a staircase test that measures independent forelimb reaching ability. Later, rats underwent 90 minutes of normothermic MCAO, through a microclip, or sham operation. In some rats, prolonged cooling (33 degrees C for 24 hours and then 35 degrees C for 24 hours) began 2.5 hours after the onset of ischemia (60 minutes after the start of reperfusion; n = 17 with subsequently 1 death) or sham procedures (n = 4), whereas untreated sham (n = 4) and ischemic (n = 16 with subsequently 1 death) rats maintained normothermia. An indwelling abdominal probe continually measured core temperature, and an automated fan and water spray system was used to produce hypothermia. One month later rats were reassessed in the staircase test over five days and then killed. The contralateral limb impairment in food pellet retrieval was completely prevented by hypothermia (P = 0.0001). Hypothermia reduced an infarct volume of 67.5 mm3 after untreated ischemia to 35.8 mm3 (P < 0.0001). These findings of persistent benefit encourage the clinical assessment of hypothermia.

Original publication




Journal article


J Cereb Blood Flow Metab

Publication Date





1702 - 1708


Animals, Body Temperature, Cerebral Cortex, Cerebrovascular Circulation, Disease Models, Animal, Hypothermia, Induced, Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery, Laser-Doppler Flowmetry, Male, Rats, Rats, Inbred SHR, Stroke, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome, Ultrasonography