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J Neurotrauma. 2011 Oct;28(10):2103-11. doi: 10.1089/neu.2011.1785. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Intracranial pressure changes following traumatic brain injury in rats: lack of significant change in the absence of mass lesions or hypoxia.

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School of Medical Sciences, Adelaide Centre for Neurological Diseases, University of Adelaide, Adelaide SA, Australia.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) often causes raised intracranial pressure (ICP), with >50% of all TBI- related deaths being associated with this increase in ICP. To date, there is no effective pharmacological treatment for TBI, partly because widely used animal models of TBI may not replicate many of the pathophysiological responses observed in humans, and particularly the ICP response. Generally, rodents are the animal of choice in neurotrauma research, and edema formation has been demonstrated in rat models; however, few studies in rats have specifically explored the effects of TBI on ICP. The aim of the current study was to investigate the ICP response of rats in two different, focal and diffuse, injury models of TBI. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to brain trauma by either lateral fluid percussion or impact-acceleration induced injury, in the presence or absence of secondary hypoxia. ICP, mean arterial blood pressure (MABP), and cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) were monitored for 4 h after TBI. TBI alone or coupled with hypoxia did not result in any significant increase of ICP in rats unless there was an intracranial hemorrhage. At all other times, changes in CPP were the result of changes in MABP and not ICP. Our results suggest that rats may be able to compensate for the intracranial expansion associated with cerebral edema after TBI, and that they only develop a consistent post-traumatic increase in ICP in the presence of a mass lesion. Therefore, they are an inappropriate model for the investigation of ICP changes after TBI, and for the development of therapies targeting ICP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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