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Ann Biomed Eng. 2011 Oct;39(10):2550-9. doi: 10.1007/s10439-011-0343-0. Epub 2011 Jul 7.

Skull flexure as a contributing factor in the mechanism of injury in the rat when exposed to a shock wave.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


The manner in which energy from an explosion is transmitted into the brain is currently a highly debated topic within the blast injury community. This study was conducted to investigate the injury biomechanics causing blast-related neurotrauma in the rat. Biomechanical responses of the rat head under shock wave loading were measured using strain gauges on the skull surface and a fiber optic pressure sensor placed within the cortex. MicroCT imaging techniques were applied to quantify skull bone thickness. The strain gauge results indicated that the response of the rat skull is dependent on the intensity of the incident shock wave; greater intensity shock waves cause greater deflections of the skull. The intracranial pressure (ICP) sensors indicated that the peak pressure developed within the brain was greater than the peak side-on external pressure and correlated with surface strain. The bone plates between the lambda, bregma, and midline sutures are probable regions for the greatest flexure to occur. The data provides evidence that skull flexure is a likely candidate for the development of ICP gradients within the rat brain. This dependency of transmitted stress on particular skull dynamics for a given species should be considered by those investigating blast-related neurotrauma using animal models.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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