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Brain Inj. 2003 Aug;17(8):653-63.

Traumatic brain injury and its effects on synaptic plasticity.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


Animal models have been used to simulate the effects of human head trauma. Some of these models have been further utilized to explore how trauma affects specific mechanisms of synaptic plasticity, a cellular model for memory consolidation. Unfortunately, these studies have been more limited in number in spite of their importance for understanding alterations in synaptic plasticity and memory impairments in trauma patients. Research in this area includes well characterized trauma models, genetically engineered animals and neuroprotective studies. One largely ignored but important idea that is entertained here is that trauma may be a crucial aetiological factor for the loss of potassium homeostasis. Moreover, high extracellular potassium has been shown to promote abnormal expression of hippocampal synaptic plasticity due to K(+)-induced glutamate release, thus showing important relationships among trauma, glia, potassium and synaptic plasticity. Collectively, this mini review surveys investigations of head trauma involving altered mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and how trauma may be related to increased risk for dementia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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