Transport of a polyamine (PA), spermidine (SPMD) into rat brain at various early postischemic periods was studied. Rats underwent 20 min of four-vessel occlusion (4VO) followed by 5, 10, 30 and 60 min of recirculation (RC) periods with natural brain temperature. H-3-aminoisobutyricacid (AIB) and C-14-SPMD were utilised to search dual functions of the blood-brain barrier (BBB); barrier and carrier functions, respectively. Unidirectional blood-to-brain transfer constant (Kin) was calculated for AM and SPMD in four brain regions-parieto-temporal cortex, striatum, hippocampus and cerebellum. Kin for SPMD ranged between 1.2 +/- 0.3 x 10(3) ml g(-1) min(-1) (for striatum) and 2.2 +/- 0.4 x 10(3) ml g(-1) min(-1) (for cerebellum) in controls. Kin for AIB showed similar values. At 5 and 10 min RC periods, Kin for both substances increased in a non-specific manner in all brain regions studied. In the cortex, Kin for SPMD at 5 and 10 min RC periods were 3.2 +/- 0.4 x 10(3) and 2.9 +/- 0.3 x 10(3) ml g(-1) min(-1), respectively, and found to be maximum with respect to other brain regions studied. 30 and 60 min RC groups showed specific transport for SPMD, whilst there were no changes for Kin for AIB, in all brain regions studied. Hippocampus showed the maximum increase in Kin SPMD at 60 min RC (2.7 +/- 0.3 x 10(3) ml g(-1) min(-1)), corresponding to a percentage rise of 121%. Intraischemic mild brain hyperthermia (39 degreesC) gave rise to a striking increase in Kin at 60 min postischemia for both substances. These results suggest that there is a specific transport of SPMD into brain at 30 and 60 min RC periods following 20 min of forebrain ischemia. Moreover, dual functions of the BBB were perturbed with intracerebral mild hyperthermia during ischemia. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd and the Japan Neuroscience Society. All rights reserved.