Although systemic hypothermia provides favorable outcomes in stroke patients, it has only been adopted in a limited number of patients because of fatal complications. To resolve these issues, focal brain cooling (FBC) has recently drawn attention as a less-invasive treatment for brain injuries. Therefore, we investigated whether FBC has a favorable effect on focal cerebral ischemia (FCI). Male-adult-Wistar rats were used. Under general anesthesia, a small burr hole was made and FCI was induced in the primary sensorimotor area (SI-MI) using photothrombosis. An additional craniotomy was made over the SI-MI and FBC was performed at a temperature of 15°C for 5h. Electrocorticograms (ECoG) were recorded on the border cortex of the ischemic focus. Thereafter, rats were sacrificed and the infarct area was measured. In another experiment, rats were allowed to recover for 5 days after cooling and neurobehavioral function was evaluated. FBC suppressed all ECoG frequency bands during and after cooling (p<0.05), except for the delta frequency band in the precooling versus rewarming periods. The injured areas in the cooling and non-cooling groups were 0.99±0.30 and 1.71±0.54 mm(2), respectively (p<0.03). The grip strength at 2 days after surgery was preserved in the cooling group (p<0.05). We report the novel finding that epileptiform discharges were suppressed in the ischemic border, the infarct area was reduced and neurobehaviour was preserved by FBC. These results indicate that FBC is neuroprotective in the ischemic brain and has demonstrated therapeutic potential for cerebral infarction.
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