Therapeutic mild hypothermia improves early outcomes in rats subjected to severe sepsis

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Aims:Therapeutic hypothermia has shown beneficial effects in sepsis. This study focused on its mechanism.Main methods:Sixteen male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent cecal ligation and perforation and subsequently were treated with either hypothermia (HT; body temperature cooled and maintained at 34 °C by ice pad for 10 h; n = 8) or normothermia (NT; n = 8). Three additional rats underwent sham surgery. The body temperatures of the sham-operated and NT groups were maintained at 38 °C with a thermal pad. After the hypothermia treatment, the HT rats were rewarmed for 2 h. The groups were compared for circulating cytokines (IL-6, IL-10), lactate, high mobility group box-1 protein (HMGB1), and lung and intestinal lesions. Animals were observed for 24 h.Key findings:Compared with the sham-operated group, the 2 sepsis group rats had significantly higher circulating IL-6, HMGB1, and lactate levels, and tissue injury. In the HT rats, the levels of IL-6, HMGB1, and lactate, the lung wet-to-dry ratio, and lung and intestinal damage were significantly lower than that of the NT group. Circulating IL-10 levels increased significantly after 12 h in the sepsis groups compared with sham animals, while that of the NT and HT groups were comparable. The survival rates of the NT and HT rats were also comparable.Significance:Therapeutic hypothermia in a rat model of sepsis was associated with lower levels of circulating IL-6 and HMGB1, and less capillary leakage and tissue edema. These results suggest that mild hypothermia has potential as a therapy in sepsis.

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