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J Neurotrauma. 2013 Jun 1;30(11):920-37. doi: 10.1089/neu.2013.2862. Epub 2013 Jun 5.

Screening of biochemical and molecular mechanisms of secondary injury and repair in the brain after experimental blast-induced traumatic brain injury in rats.

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Department of Critical Care Medicine, Safar Center for Resuscitation Research, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA.


Abstract Explosive blast-induced traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the signature insult in modern combat casualty care and has been linked to post-traumatic stress disorder, memory loss, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. In this article we report on blast-induced mild TBI (mTBI) characterized by fiber-tract degeneration and axonal injury revealed by cupric silver staining in adult male rats after head-only exposure to 35 psi in a helium-driven shock tube with head restraint. We now explore pathways of secondary injury and repair using biochemical/molecular strategies. Injury produced ∼25% mortality from apnea. Shams received identical anesthesia exposure. Rats were sacrificed at 2 or 24 h, and brain was sampled in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Hippocampal samples were used to assess gene array (RatRef-12 Expression BeadChip; Illumina, Inc., San Diego, CA) and oxidative stress (OS; ascorbate, glutathione, low-molecular-weight thiols [LMWT], protein thiols, and 4-hydroxynonenal [HNE]). Cortical samples were used to assess neuroinflammation (cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors; Luminex Corporation, Austin, TX) and purines (adenosine triphosphate [ATP], adenosine diphosphate, adenosine, inosine, 2'-AMP [adenosine monophosphate], and 5'-AMP). Gene array revealed marked increases in astrocyte and neuroinflammatory markers at 24 h (glial fibrillary acidic protein, vimentin, and complement component 1) with expression patterns bioinformatically consistent with those noted in Alzheimer's disease and long-term potentiation. Ascorbate, LMWT, and protein thiols were reduced at 2 and 24 h; by 24 h, HNE was increased. At 2 h, multiple cytokines and chemokines (interleukin [IL]-1α, IL-6, IL-10, and macrophage inflammatory protein 1 alpha [MIP-1α]) were increased; by 24 h, only MIP-1α remained elevated. ATP was not depleted, and adenosine correlated with 2'-cyclic AMP (cAMP), and not 5'-cAMP. Our data reveal (1) gene-array alterations similar to disorders of memory processing and a marked astrocyte response, (2) OS, (3) neuroinflammation with a sustained chemokine response, and (4) adenosine production despite lack of energy failure-possibly resulting from metabolism of 2'-3'-cAMP. A robust biochemical/molecular response occurs after blast-induced mTBI, with the body protected from blast and the head constrained to limit motion.

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