Cooling produces minimal neuropathology in neocortex and hippocampus

Xiao Feng Yang, Bryan R. Kennedy, Stephen G. Lomber, Robert E. Schmidt, Steven M. Rothman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Cooling is a potential treatment for several neurological diseases. We have examined rodent and cat neocortex, cooled to 5 and 3°C, respectively, to identify a lower limit for safely cooling brain. Rat neocortex, intermittently cooled with a thermoelectric device for 2 h, showed no signs of neuronal injury after cresyl violet or TUNEL staining. Neurons were also preserved in cat cortex cooled for up to 2 h daily for 10 months. Cooled rat and cat cortex showed glial proliferation, but this was also observed in sham-operated rat cortex. When hippocampal slices from mice expressing the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) in neurons were cooled to 5°C, but not higher temperatures, we saw reversible dendritic beading and spine loss after 15-30 min. While there may be biochemical and functional alterations in brain cooled as low as 5°C, the neuropathological consequences of brain cooling appear to be insignificant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-643
Number of pages7
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • 2-Photon microscope
  • Apoptosis
  • Cooling
  • Dendrites
  • Dendritic spines
  • Epilepsy
  • Green Fluorescent Protein
  • Hypothermia
  • Stroke
  • Thermoelectric device


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