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Anesthesiology Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 989487, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/989487
Review Article

Brain Temperature: Physiology and Pathophysiology after Brain Injury

Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, University Hospital of Toulouse, University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France

Received 1 August 2012; Revised 9 November 2012; Accepted 12 December 2012

Academic Editor: Oliver Bandschapp

Copyright © 2012 Ségolène Mrozek et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The regulation of brain temperature is largely dependent on the metabolic activity of brain tissue and remains complex. In intensive care clinical practice, the continuous monitoring of core temperature in patients with brain injury is currently highly recommended. After major brain injury, brain temperature is often higher than and can vary independently of systemic temperature. It has been shown that in cases of brain injury, the brain is extremely sensitive and vulnerable to small variations in temperature. The prevention of fever has been proposed as a therapeutic tool to limit neuronal injury. However, temperature control after traumatic brain injury, subarachnoid hemorrhage, or stroke can be challenging. Furthermore, fever may also have beneficial effects, especially in cases involving infections. While therapeutic hypothermia has shown beneficial effects in animal models, its use is still debated in clinical practice. This paper aims to describe the physiology and pathophysiology of changes in brain temperature after brain injury and to study the effects of controlling brain temperature after such injury.