Rapid brain cooling in exercising dogs

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Science  25 Feb 1977:
Vol. 195, Issue 4280, pp. 781-783
DOI: 10.1126/science.836587


In alert, resting dogs, the brain is warmer than arterial blood in the common carotid artery. When dogs run, brain temperature drops, despite a sharp rise in carotid blood temperature, and is maintained 1.3 degrees C below carotid temperature during exercise. This brain cooling apparently results from countercurrent heat exchange between warm arterial blood supplying the brain and cool venous blood draining the nose and mouth. The heat exchange occurs in the arteries at the base of the brain, which form a rudimentary carotid rete in the dog, and is greatest during exercise, when respiratory evaporation is at a peak. In animals with a carotid rete, the brain is protected against overheating during the severe thermal stress of exercise.