This study examines the effects of profound hypothermia on the blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability in ethanol administrated rats. Vascular permeability to intravenously injected Evans blue (EB) was quantitatively examined in the brain regions of rats. Rats were treated with ethanol acute and chronically. Rectal temperature of rats was dropped into 20+/-1 degrees C during profound hypothermia. Mean arterial blood pressure in both acute and chronic ethanol treatments plus hypothermia significantly dropped into low levels as well as in hypothermia alone (P<0.01). Hypothermia led to a significant increase in the content of EB dye in the brain regions of rats (P<0.05). Both acute and chronic ethanol treatments plus hypothermia did not lead to a significant increase in the BBB permeability against intravenously injected EB dye. We conclude that ethanol intake protects the BBB against the effects of hypothermia.