To investigate the effect of selective hypothermia of the brain (brain cooling) on regional cerebral blood flow and tissue metabolism, we have developed a brain thermo-regulator. Brain temperature was modulated by a water-cooled metallic plate placed on the surface of the rats' scalp to get the appropriate brain temperature precisely with ease. Regional cerebral blood flow and brain temperature were measured simultaneously using a Teflon- coated platinum electrode and thermocouple probe inserted stereotaxically into the parietal cortex and thalamus in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Experimental forebrain ischemia was induced by the occlusion of bilateral common carotid artery under normo- and hypothermic brain condition, and the supratentorial brain tissue metabolites were measured enzymatically after 60 min of forebrain ischemia. When cortical temperature was set to hypothermia, cortical blood flow was significantly lowered by 40% at 30°C and 20% at 33°C as compared with that at 36°C (p < 0.0001 and p < 0.05, respectively). Thalamic blood flow was also significantly reduced by 20% when cortical temperature was set to 30°C as compared with 36°C (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences in arterial blood pressure and gas parameters throughout these experiments. In the rats with selective brain hypothermia (30°C) immediately after the induction of cerebral ischemia, the level of brain ATP concentration after 60 min of ischemia was significantly higher than that in normothermia rats (36°C) (p < 0.05). Our findings indicate that: 1) the metallic plate brain thermo-regulator is useful in small animal experiments; 2) regional brain temperature regulates regional cerebral blood flow; and 3) selective brain hypothermia, even started after the forebrain ischemia, ameliorates the derangement of brain metabolism, suggesting its effectiveness as a cytoprotective strategy.
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