Original Articles| Volume 12, ISSUE 2, P97-102, March 2003

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Prolonged drug-induced hypothermia in experimental stroke


      In experimental and human stroke, hypothermia is strongly related to a favorable outcome. Previous attempts to manipulate the core temperature in focal cerebral ischemia have been based on mechanical cooling. The purpose of the study is to establish a model for long-term drug-induced hypothermia in focal ischemia by pharmacological alteration of the central thermoregulatory set-point. We tested the hypothesis that the dopaminergic agonist Talipexole, which induces hypothermia, reduces infarct size. Body temperature was monitored by a radio-pill-implant. Rats had reversible occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCAO) for 30 minutes. Thirty minutes after reflow, the experimental group of rats (n = 10) received an intravenous bolus injection of Talipexole followed by a continuous infusion of Talipexole during the following 24 hours. The control group of rats (n = 10) received a similar treatment regimen with saline only. All rats were killed 7 days after MCAO. Infarct volume was quantified stereologically. The mean body temperature (35.6 + 1.0°C) during 24 hours after bolus injection of Talipexole was significantly lower than in control rats (37.3 ± 0.5°C), P <.05. Infarct volumes were significantly lower in the Talipexole group (4.7 ± 1.9 mm3) than in the control group (8.8 ± 4.7 mm3), P <.04. In the Talipexole treated rats we also observed a significant hypokalemia (P =.001) and a significantly lower index of relative degree of movement (P <.02). Our study shows that the core body temperature was reduced by 1.7 °C for 24 hours after MCAO in rats treated with Talipexole. This treatment induced a significant reduction of infarct volume at 7 days after focal ischemia by 47%. We suggest that the reduction in infarct volume is related to drug-induced hypothermia. The hypokalemia in the hypothermic rats is possibly explained by the observed lower degree of movement. Copyright © 2003 by National Stroke Association


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