Moderate hypothermia prevents neural cell apoptosis following spinal cord ischemia in rabbits

Cell Res. 2005 May;15(5):387-93. doi: 10.1038/


Paraplegia is a disastrous complication after operations of descending and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm. Regional hypothermia protects against spinal cord ischemia although the protective mechanism is not well know. The objective of this study is to examine whether hypothermia protects the spinal cord by preventing apoptosis of nerve cell and also investigate a possible mechanism involved in hypothermia neuroprotection. Cell apoptosis with necrosis was evident in the spinal cord 24 h after 30 min of ischemia. Moderate hypothermia decreased the incidence of apoptotic nerve cells. Both cell apoptosis and necrosis were attenuated by hypothermia. p53 expression increased and bcl-2 expression declined after ischemia, while hypothermia mitigated these changes. This study suggests that apoptosis contributes to cell death after spinal cord ischemia, and that moderate hypothermia can prevent nerve cell apoptosis by a mechanism associated with bcl-2 and p53 genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia, Induced*
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Necrosis / pathology
  • Neurons* / pathology
  • Neurons* / physiology
  • Neurons* / ultrastructure
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Rabbits
  • Spinal Cord Ischemia* / pathology
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53