Importance of posttraumatic hypothermia and hyperthermia on the inflammatory response after fluid percussion brain injury: biochemical and immunocytochemical studies

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2000 Mar;20(3):531-42. doi: 10.1097/00004647-200003000-00012.


The purpose of this study was to investigate: 1) the temporal and regional profile of polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMNL) infiltration after moderate traumatic brain injury using the parasagittal fluid percussion model and 2) the effects of posttraumatic hypothermia (30 degrees C) and hyperthermia (39 degrees C) on the acute and subacute inflammatory response. We hypothesized that posttraumatic hypothermia would reduce the degree of PMNL accumulation whereas hyperthermia would exacerbate this response to injury. In the first series of experiments we quantitated the temporal profile of altered myeloperoxidase activity under normothermic (37 degrees C) conditions (n = 20). The rats were allowed to survive for 3 hours, 24 hours, 3 days, or 7 days after trauma, and brains were dissected into cortical and subcortical regions ipsilateral and contralateral to injury. Additional animals were perfused and fixed for the immunocytochemical visualization of myeloperoxidase (n = 15). In the second series of experiments, rats (n = 25) were killed 3 hours or 3 days after the 3-hour monitoring period of normothermia (36.5 degrees C), hypothermia (30 degrees C), or hyperthermia (39 degrees C) (n = 4 to 5 per group), and myeloperoxidase activity was again quantitated. In normothermic rats, the enzymatic activity of myeloperoxidase was significantly increased (P < 0.05) at 3 hours within the anterior cortical segment (213.97 +/- 56.2 versus control 65.5 +/- 52.3 U/g of wet tissue; mean +/- SD) and posterior (injured) cortical and subcortical segments compared to sham-operated rats (305.76 +/- 27.8 and 258.67 +/- 101.4 U/g of wet tissue versus control 62.8 +/- 24.8 and 37.28 +/- 35.6 U/g of wet tissue; P < 0.0001, P < 0.05, respectively). At 24 hours and 7-days after trauma only the posterior cortical region (P < 0.005, P < 0.05, respectively) exhibited increased myeloperoxidase activity. However, 3 days after trauma, myeloperoxidase activity was also significantly increased within the anterior cortical segment (P < 0.05) and in posterior cortical and subcortical regions compared to sham-operated cortex (P < 0.0001, P < 0.05, respectively). Immunocytochemical analysis of myeloperoxidase reactivity at 3 hours, 24 hours, 3- and 7-days demonstrated large numbers of immunoreactive leukocytes within and associated with blood vessels, damaged tissues, and subarachnoid spaces. Posttraumatic hypothermia and hyperthermia had significant effects on myeloperoxidase activity at both 3 hours and 3 days after traumatic brain injury. Posttraumatic hypothermia reduced myeloperoxidase activity in the injured and noninjured cortical and subcortical segments compared to normothermic values (P < 0.05). In contrast, posttraumatic hyperthermia significantly elevated myeloperoxidase activity in the posterior cortical region compared to normothermic values at both 3 hours and 3 days (473.5 +/- 258.4 and 100.11 +/- 27.58 U/g of wet tissue, respectively, P < 0.05 versus controls). These results indicate that posttraumatic hypothermia decreases early and more prolonged myeloperoxidase activation whereas hyperthermia increases myeloperoxidase activity. Temperature-dependent alterations in PMNL accumulation appear to be a potential mechanism by which posttraumatic temperature manipulations may influence traumatic outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / therapy*
  • Encephalitis / etiology*
  • Encephalitis / metabolism
  • Encephalitis / mortality
  • Encephalitis / pathology
  • Hyperthermia, Induced*
  • Hypothermia, Induced*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Peroxidase / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Time Factors
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / complications
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / pathology
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / therapy


  • Peroxidase