This review analyzes, in some depth, results of studies on the effect of lowered temperatures on cerebral energy metabolism in animals under normal conditions and in some selected pathologic situations. In sedated and paralyzed mammals, acute uncomplicated 0.5- to 3-h hypothermia decreases the global cerebral metabolic rate for glucose (CMR(glc)) and oxygen (CMRo(2)) but maintains a slightly better energy level, which indicates that ATP breakdown is reduced more than its synthesis. Intracellular alkalinization stimulates glycolysis and independently enhances energy generation. Lowering of temperature during hypoxia-ischemia slows the rate of glucose, phosphocreatine, and ATP breakdown and lactate and inorganic phosphate formation, and improves recovery of energetic parameters during reperfusion. Mild hypothermia of 12 to 24-h duration after normothermic hypoxic-ischemic insults seems to prevent or ameliorate secondary failures in energy parameters. The authors conclude that lowered head temperatures help to protect and maintain normal CNS function by preserving brain ATP supply and level. Hypothermia may thus prove a promising avenue in the treatment of stroke and trauma and, in particular, of perinatal brain injury.