Background and Purpose - It is not known whether a combination of intraischemic and postischemic mild hypothermia provides extra neuroprotection and if so, whether the neuroprotection is persistent. Methods - Sixty-eight Sprague-Dawley rats were used. In group 1, ischemia and reperfusion were performed under normothermic (N) conditions (control, N-N). In group 2, ischemia was induced and maintained under hypothermic conditions (33°C for 2 hours) and reperfusion was performed under normothermic conditions, H-N. In group 3, both ischemia and reperfusion were performed under hypothermic conditions for an additional 21 hours after the surgery, H- 22H. In group 4, ischemia was induced and maintained under hypothermic conditions and reperfusion was performed under hypothermic conditions only for the initial 3 hours (H-3H). In group 5, ischemia was induced and maintained under normothermic conditions and reperfusion was performed under hypothermic conditions (33°C) (N-22H). All rats were perfused 48 hours after the induction of ischemia. In addition, the normothermic or hypothermic therapy used for groups 1, 3, and 4 was performed again, and these rats were killed 30 days after the induction of ischemia. Furthermore, neurological deficits were monitored in groups N-N and H-22H for 4 weeks. Results - In the H-3H and H-22H groups, the total infarct volume was significantly reduced by 41% or 66%, respectively, assessed 48 hours after ischemia. The significant reduction in group H-22H was again confirmed 30 days after ischemia, ie, 50% reduction was observed. In contrast, the reduction in group H-3H (31%) was not significant. The neurological deficits were significantly more severe in the N-N group than in the H-22H group during week 4. Conclusions - The neuroprotective effects against temporary focal ischemia evaluated by infarct volume and neurological functions by the combination therapy with intraischemic and prolonged postischemic mild hypothermia were persistent in rats. Appropriate design of mild hypothermia therapy extending into the late reperfusion period is important to maximize the neuroprotective effects of hypothermia.
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