Traumatic Brain Injury Models

In vivo TBI models include three basic types: diffuse, focal, and axonal injury ( ). There are three diffuse injury models. The first of these is the rat fluid percussion TBI paradigm, which involves the application of a transient hydraulic pressure pulse onto the exposed dura mater, either over the midline of the brain or laterally over one of the hemispheres. The second is the rat impact-acceleration injury model, which involves a 0.5 or 1.0 kg weight drop onto a steel helmet cemented onto the exposed skull. The third is the mouse weight-drop concussion paradigm, and the last are the pig or primate rotational acceleration models, which are useful for studying the phenomenon of diffuse axonal injury.

For the induction of focal TBIs there is the widely employed controlled cortical impact (CCI) model, used in either rats or mice, that involves the infliction of a contusion injury through a small craniotomy. The magnitude of the injury is generally varied by the depth of the cortical indentation (usually 0.5-1.0 mm in mice and 1.0-2.0 mm in rats). The CCI model is a model of TBI-induced brain contusions, although a recent study has shown that the subsequent neurodegeneration is not as focal as is generally thought.10 A relatively new in vivo model has been developed to examine the effects of stretch injury on axons, and involves the induction of a controlled stretch of the optic nerve in mice.

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