An Improved Method for In Situ Freezing of Cat Brain for Metabolic Studies

M. S. Yang, H. Lutz, D. S. DeWitt, D. P. Becker, R. L. Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Abstract: This study introduces a new method for rapid freezing of the cat brain. The method employed a Styrofoam box which was fitted around the head of the animal. Liquid nitrogen was poured into the box until the head was submerged. Temperature changes in three brain sites (ventral hypothalamus, the fourth ventricle, and the corpus callosum) and levels of labile carbohydrate metabolites (glycogen, glucose, ATP, P‐creatine, and lactate) in five brain regions (cortex, thalamus, midbrain, cerebellum, and pons) frozen by the box method were compared with those frozen by a conventional cup method in which liquid nitrogen was poured into a hollow Styrofoam cup placed on top of the skull. The box method shortened the time of arrival of the freezing front and improved the freezing rate. The time required to bring the tissue to ‐20°C was shortened, from 20 min at the ventral hypothalamus and 10–12 min at the fourth ventricle with the cup method, to <5 min at both sites with the box technique. Continued perfusion of brainstem prior to freezing was demonstrated. Levels of metabolites frozen by either method were similar. Lactate levels in any of the five brain regions studied by either method were not elevated, indicating no ischemic change. The shorter freezing time resulting from the box method should provide improved temporal resolution in studying dynamic metabolic changes such as those frequently observed in pathological conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1393-1397
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neurochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1983
Externally publishedYes


  • Box method
  • Circle of Willis
  • Freezing front
  • Freezing of cat brain
  • Hypothermia
  • Ischemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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