A two-hour window for hypothermic modulation of early events that impact delayed opening of the rat blood-brain barrier after ischemia

Edward Preston, Jacqueline Webster
Acta Neuropathologica 2004, 108 (5): 406-12
Opening of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and consequent edema are known to intensify 24-72 h after ischemic stroke, and research on potential ameliorative therapies in animal models may lead to improved clinical treatments to prevent brain swelling and the secondary damage it causes. In this study, post-ischemic hypothermia treatment, which is an established neuroprotective strategy, was examined for its ability to prevent delayed BBB opening in a rat model of global ischemia. Anesthetized, normothermic SD rats (340-380 g) underwent 20 min of two-vessel (carotid) occlusion plus hypotension (2VO ischemia, between 0900-1100 h). Marked cortical BBB leakiness, which developed overnight, was indicated at sacrifice 24 h post-2VO by an average six- to eightfold increase above baseline in transfer constant values (K(i) ) for rate of blood to brain diffusion of intravenously delivered [(3)H]sucrose. A post-2VO treatment involving whole body cooling to 31.5 degrees-32.5 degrees C, maintenance for 6 h and rewarming to normothermia, significantly reduced BBB leakiness at 24 h, whether cooling was initiated immediately after reperfusion, or after a 1-h delay, but not after 2-h delay. Immediate hypothermia treatment reduced overall tissue injury at 24 h as evidenced by an assay of mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase activity, and also reduced brain edema. By contrast, treatment of rats with the anti-inflammatory drugs cyclosporine A or minocycline offered no protection of BBB or mitochondria. It is concluded that hypothermic alteration of critical events during the first 2 h after prolonged ischemia powerfully mitigates the BBB damage and associated events that normally develop 24 h later.

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