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Acta Neurochir Suppl. 2016;122:25-9. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-22533-3_5.

Drag-Reducing Polymer Enhances Microvascular Perfusion in the Traumatized Brain with Intracranial Hypertension.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, MSC 10 5615, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, USA.
BRAIN Imaging Center, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, USA.
Department of Neurosurgery, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, MSC 10 5615, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, USA.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 15219, USA.


Current treatments for traumatic brain injury (TBI) have not focused on improving microvascular perfusion. Drag-reducing polymers (DRP), linear, long-chain, blood-soluble, nontoxic macromolecules, may offer a new approach to improving cerebral perfusion by primary alteration of the fluid dynamic properties of blood. Nanomolar concentrations of DRP have been shown to improve hemodynamics in animal models of ischemic myocardium and ischemic limb, but have not yet been studied in the brain. We recently demonstrated that DRP improved microvascular perfusion and tissue oxygenation in a normal rat brain. We hypothesized that DRP could restore microvascular perfusion in hypertensive brain after TBI. Using in vivo two-photon laser scanning microscopy we examined the effect of DRP on microvascular blood flow and tissue oxygenation in hypertensive rat brains with and without TBI. DRP enhanced and restored capillary flow, decreased microvascular shunt flow, and, as a result, reduced tissue hypoxia in both nontraumatized and traumatized rat brains at high intracranial pressure. Our study suggests that DRP could constitute an effective treatment for improving microvascular flow in brain ischemia caused by high intracranial pressure after TBI.


Capillaries; Cerebral blood flow; Drag-reducing polymer; Hypoxia; Intracranial pressure; Ischemia; Microvascular shunts; NADH; Polyethylene oxide (PEO); Rats; Traumatic brain injury

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