The contribution of carotid rete variability to brain temperature variability in sheep in a thermoneutral environment

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    The degree of variability in the temperature difference between the brain and carotid arterial blood is greater than expected from the presumed tight coupling between brain heat production and brain blood flow. In animals with a carotid rete, some of that variability arises in the rete. Using thermometric data loggers in five sheep, we have measured the temperature of arterial blood before it enters the carotid rete and after it has perfused the carotid rete, as well as hypothalamic temperature, every 2 min for between 6 and 12 days. The sheep were conscious, unrestrained, and maintained at an ambient temperature of 20 - 22 degrees C. On average, carotid arterial blood and brain temperatures were the same, with a decrease in blood temperature of 0.35 degrees C across the rete and then an increase in temperature of the same magnitude between blood leaving the rete and the brain. Rete cooling of arterial blood took place at temperatures below the threshold for selective brain cooling. All of the variability in the temperature difference between carotid artery and brain was attributable statistically to variability in the temperature difference across the rete. The temperature difference between arterial blood leaving the rete and the brain varied from -0.1 to 0.9 degrees C. Some of this variability was related to a thermal inertia of the brain, but the majority we attribute to instability in the relationship between brain blood flow and brain heat production.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1298-1305
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    Cite this