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Attenuation coefficient and propagation speed of intercostal tissues were estimated as functions of temperature (22, 30, and 37/spl deg/C) from fresh chest walls from eight 10- to 11-week-old female Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats, eight 21to 24-week-old female Long-Evans (LE) rats, and ten 6- to 10-week-old mixed sex Yorkshire (York) pigs. The primary purpose of the study was to estimate the temperature dependence of the intercostal tissue's attenuation coefficient so that accurate estimates of the in situ (at the pleural surface) acoustic pressure levels could be made for our ultrasound-induced lung hemorrhage studies. The attenuation coefficient of intercostal tissue for both species was independent of the temperature at the discrete frequencies of 3.1 MHz (-0.0076, 0.0065, and 0.016 dB/cm//spl deg/C for SD rats, LE rats, and York pigs, respectively) and 6.2 MHz (-0.015, 0.014, and 0.014 dB/cm//spl deg/C for SD rats, LE rats, and York pigs, respectively). However, the temperature-dependent regressions yielded a significant temperature dependency of the intercostal tissue attenuation coefficients in SD and LE rats (over the 3.1 to 9.6 MHz frequency range); there was no temperature dependency in York pigs (over the 3.1 to 8.6 MHz frequency range). There was no significant temperature dependency of the intercostal tissue propagation speed in SD rats; there was a temperature dependency in LE rats and York pigs (-0.59, -1.6, and -2.9 m/s//spl deg/C for SD rats, LE rats, and York pigs, respectively). Even though the attenuation coefficient's temperature dependency was significant from the linear regression functions, the differences were not very great (-0.040 to -0.13, 0.011 to 0.18, and 0.055 to 0.10 dB/cm//spl deg/C for SD rats, LE rats, and York pigs, respectively, over the data frequency range). These findings suggest that it is not necessary to determine the attenuation coefficient of intercostal tissue at body temperature (37/spl deg/C), but rather it is sufficient t- - o determine the attenuation coefficient at room temperature (22/spl deg/C), a much easier experimental procedure.