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J Neurotrauma. 2012 Jan 20;29(2):281-94. doi: 10.1089/neu.2011.2123. Epub 2011 Nov 8.

Repeated mild lateral fluid percussion brain injury in the rat causes cumulative long-term behavioral impairments, neuroinflammation, and cortical loss in an animal model of repeated concussion.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Melbourne Brain Centre, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia. sshultz@unimelb.edu.au

Abstract

There is growing evidence that repeated brain concussion can result in cumulative and long-term behavioral symptoms, neuropathological changes, and neurodegeneration. Little is known about the factors and mechanisms that contribute to these effects. The current study addresses the need to investigate and better understand the effects of repeated concussion through the development of an animal model. Male Long-Evans rats received 1, 3, or 5 mild lateral fluid percussion injuries or sham injuries spaced 5 days apart. After the final injury, rats received either a short (24 h) or long (8 weeks) post-injury recovery period, followed by a detailed behavioral analysis consisting of tests for rodent anxiety-like behavior, cognition, social behavior, sensorimotor function, and depression-like behavior. Brains were examined immunohistochemically to assess neuroinflammation and cortical damage. Rats given 1, 3, or 5 mild percussion injuries displayed significant short-term cognitive impairments. Rats given repeated mild percussion injuries displayed significantly worse short- and long-term cognitive impairments. Rats given 5 mild percussion injuries also displayed increased anxiety- and depression-like behaviors. Neuropathological analysis revealed short-term neuroinflammation in 3-injury rats, and both short- and long-term neuroinflammation in 5-injury rats. There was also evidence that repeated injuries induced short- and long-term cortical damage. These cumulative and long-term changes are consistent with findings in human patients suffering repeated brain concussion, provide support for the use of repeated mild lateral fluid percussion injuries to study repeated concussion in the rat, and suggest that neuroinflammation may be important for understanding the cumulative and chronic effects of repeated concussion.

PMID:
21933013
DOI:
10.1089/neu.2011.2123
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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