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Brain temperature fluctuation: a reflection of functional neural activation

Authors

  • Eugene A. Kiyatkin,

    1. Behavioural Neuroscience Branch, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 5500 Nathan Shock Drive, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA
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  • P. Leon Brown,

    1. Behavioural Neuroscience Branch, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 5500 Nathan Shock Drive, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA
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  • Roy A. Wise

    1. Behavioural Neuroscience Branch, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 5500 Nathan Shock Drive, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA
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: Dr Eugene A. Kiyatkin, as above.
E-mail: ekiyatki@intra.nida.nih.gov

Abstract

Although it is known that relatively large increases in local brain temperature can occur during behaviour and in response to various novel, stressful and emotionally arousing environmental stimuli, the source of this heat is not clearly established. To clarify this issue, we monitored the temperature in three brain structures (dorsal and ventral striatum, cerebellum) and in arterial blood at the level of the abdominal aorta in freely moving rats exposed to several environmental challenges ranging from traditional stressors to simple sensory stimuli (cage change, tail pinch, exposure to another male rat, a female rat, a mouse or an unexpected sound). We found that brain temperature was consistently higher than arterial blood temperature, and that brain temperature increased prior to, and to a greater extent than, the increase in blood temperature evoked by each test challenge. Thus, the local metabolic consequences of widely correlated neural activity appear to be the primary source of increases in brain temperature and a driving force behind the associated changes in body temperature.

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