The effect of focal cerebral cooling on perinatal hypoxic-ischemic brain damage

J. Towfighi, C. Housman, D. F. Heitjan, R. C. Vannucci, J. Y. Yager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


We describe a method of focal cooling of the head and its effects on hypoxic-ischemic cerebral damage in neonatal rat. Focal cooling of the head was obtained by positioning a catheter under the scalp ipsilateral to the ligated common carotid artery and by running cold water through the catheter during 2 h of systemic hypoxia. Hypoxia was produced in neonatal rats by breathing 8% oxygen for 2 h in a 37°C chamber. Animals underwent focal cooling with ipsilateral scalp temperatures ranging from 22°C to 35°C. Temperature recordings from the ipsilateral scalp, cerebral hemisphere (dorsal hippocampus) and core (rectal) were obtained. The results suggest that the method is effective in cooling of brain and also to a lesser extent in lowering of the core temperature. At a mean scalp temperature of 28°C, mean hippocampal temperature in hypoxic rat was 29.5°C and mean core temperature in hypoxic rat was 32.8°C. At a lower scalp temperature of 22°C, mean hippocampal temperature in hypoxic rat was 24.7°C and mean core temperature was 31.3°C. Neuropathologic examination 3-4 days following hypoxia-ischemia showed that focal cooling with a scalp temperature of lower than 28°C completely protected from brain damage, and that there was a trend towards greater damage with higher scalp temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-604
Number of pages7
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1994


  • Brain
  • Hypothermia
  • Immature
  • Ischemia
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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