Hypothermia effects on neurovascular coupling and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen

Georg Royl*, Martina Füchtemeier, Christoph Leithner, Dirk Megow, Nikolas Offenhauser, Jens Steinbrink, Matthias Kohl-Bareis, Ulrich Dirnagl, Ute Lindauer

*Corresponding author for this work
16 Citations (Scopus)


Neuronal activation is accompanied by a local increase in cerebral blood flow (CBF) and in cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2), caused by neurovascular and neurometabolic coupling. Hypothermia is used as a neuroprotective approach in surgical patients and therapeutically after cardiac arrest or stroke. The effect of hypothermia on neurovascular coupling is of interest for evaluating brain function in these patients, but has not been determined so far. It is not clear whether functional hyperaemia actually operates at subnormal temperatures. In addition, decreasing brain temperature reduces spontaneous CMRO2 following a known quantitative relationship (Q10). Q10 determination may serve to validate a recently introduced CMRO2 measurement approach relying on optical measurements of CBF and hemoglobin concentration. We applied this method to investigate hypothermia in a functional study of the somatosensory cortex. Anesthetized Wistar rats underwent surgical implantation of a closed cranial window. Using laser Doppler flowmetry and optical spectroscopy, relative changes in CBF and hemoglobin concentration were measured continuously. At the same time, an electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded from the measurement site. By the application of ice packs, whole-body hypothermia was induced, followed by rewarming. Spontaneous EEG, CBF and CMRO2 were measured, interleaved by blocks of electrical forepaw stimulation. The Q10 obtained from spontaneous CMRO2 changes of 4.4 (95% confidence interval 3.7-5.1) was close to published values, indicating the reliability of the CMRO2 measurement. Lowering brain temperature decreased functional changes of CBF and CMRO2 as well as amplitudes of somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) to the same degree. In conclusion, neurovascular and neurometabolic coupling is preserved during hypothermia.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1523-1532
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.05.2008

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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