Study design: An animal experimental study on hypothermia after spinal cord injury(SCI). OBJECTIVE.: To investigate the neuroprotective effect of moderate epidural hypothermia (MEH) on SCI in rats and evaluate the antiapoptotic and anti-inflammatory effect of hypothermia.
Summary of background data: Experimental systemic or local hypothermia has been tried for neuroprotection after ischemic or traumatic SCI. However, its clinical application is limited due to its technical difficulties. If hypothermia is to be considered in the future for treating SCI, then alternative approaches and further studies on the advantages and disadvantages of hypothermia will be mandatory.
Methods: Author's designed MEH (30 degrees C for 48 hours) was tried as a neuroprotector after traumatic SCI. The functional recovery and histopathological changes were assessed. A spinal cord contusion (25 g-cm at T-9) was produced in all 16 rats, and these rats were randomly divided into 2 groups; (1) the control group (spinal cord contusion only), (2) the hypothermia group (spinal cord contusion followed by MEH).
Results: MEH significantly reduced the apoptosis of neurons and glial cells when compared with the control group (P < 0.05). Furthermore, MEH significantly inhibited the activation of the microglia and it improved functional recovery after SCI (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: These results suggest that MEH may be a possible therapeutic candidate when combined with clinically proven surgical and medical methods for SCI.