Comprehensive Evaluation of Neuroprotection Achieved by Extended Selective Brain Cooling Therapy in a Rat Model of Penetrating Ballistic-Like Brain Injury

Xi Chun May Lu*, Deborah A. Shear, Ying Deng-Bryant, Lai Yee Leung, Guo Wei, Zhiyong Chen, Frank C. Tortella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Brain hypothermia has been considered as a promising alternative to whole-body hypothermia in treating acute neurological disease, for example, traumatic brain injury. Previously, we demonstrated that 2-hours selective brain cooling (SBC) effectively mitigated acute (≤24 hours postinjury) neurophysiological dysfunction induced by a penetrating ballistic-like brain injury (PBBI) in rats. This study evaluated neuroprotective effects of extended SBC (4 or 8 hours in duration) on sub-acute secondary injuries between 3 and 21 days postinjury (DPI). SBC (34°C) was achieved via extraluminal cooling of rats' bilateral common carotid arteries (CCA). Depending on the experimental design, SBC was introduced either immediately or with a 2-or 4-hour delay after PBBI and maintained for 4 or 8 hours. Neuroprotective effects of SBC were evaluated by measuring brain lesion volume, axonal injury, neuroinflammation, motor and cognitive functions, and post-traumatic seizures. Compared to untreated PBBI animals, 4 or 8 hours SBC treatment initiated immediately following PBBI produced comparable neuroprotective benefits against PBBI-induced early histopathology at 3 DPI as evidenced by significant reductions in brain lesion volume, axonal pathology (beta-amyloid precursor protein staining), neuroinflammation (glial fibrillary acetic protein stained-activated astrocytes and rat major histocompatibility complex class I stained activated microglial cell), and post-traumatic nonconvulsive seizures. In the later phase of the injury (7-21 DPI), significant improvement on motor function (rotarod test) was observed under most SBC protocols, including the 2-hour delay in SBC initiation. However, SBC treatment failed to improve cognitive performance (Morris water maze test) measured 13-17 DPI. The protective effects of SBC on delayed axonal injury (silver staining) were evident out to 14 DPI. In conclusion, the CCA cooling method of SBC produced neuroprotection measured across multiple domains that were evident days/weeks beyond the cooling duration and in the absence of overt adverse effects. These "proof-of-concept" results suggest that SBC may provide an attractive neuroprotective approach for clinical considerations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-39
Number of pages10
JournalTherapeutic Hypothermia and Temperature Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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