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Effect of local cooling on pro-inflammatory cytokines and blood flow of the skin under surface pressure in rats: Feasibility study

  • Lee, Bernard
  • Benyajati, Siribhinya
  • Woods, Jeffrey A.
  • Jan, Yih-Kuen1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • 1 Department of Physiology
  • 2 University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
  • 3 Rehabilitation Engineering Laboratory
  • 4 Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
  • 5 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Published Article
Journal of Tissue Viability
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
DOI: 10.1016/j.jtv.2014.01.002


The primary purpose of this feasibility study was to establish a correlation between pro-inflammatory cytokine accumulation and severity of tissue damage during local pressure with various temperatures. The secondary purpose was to compare skin blood flow patterns for assessing the efficacy of local cooling on reducing skin ischemia under surface pressure. Eight Sprague–Dawley rats were assigned to two protocols, including pressure with local cooling (Δt = −10 °C) and pressure with local heating (Δt = 10 °C). Pressure of 700 mmHg was applied to the right trochanter area of rats for 3 h. Skin perfusion quantified by laser Doppler flowmetry and TNF-∗ and IL-1β levels were measured. Our results showed that TNF-α concentrations were increased more significantly with local heating than with local cooling under pressure whereas IL-1β did not change. Our results support the notion that weight bearing soft tissue damage may be reduced through temperature modulation and that non-invasive perfusion measurements using laser Doppler flowmetry may be capable of assessing viability. Furthermore, these results show that perfusion response to loading pressure may be correlated with changes in local pro-inflammatory cytokines. These relationships may be relevant for the development of cooling technologies for reducing risk of pressure ulcers.

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