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J Vis Exp. 2019 Jul 12;(149). doi: 10.3791/59585.

A Novel and Translational Rat Model of Concussion Combining Force and Rotation with In Vivo Cerebral Microdialysis.

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Research Center, Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal;
Research Center, Douglas Institute.
Research Center, Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal.


Persistent cognitive and motor symptoms are known consequences of concussions/mild traumatic brain injury (mTBIs) that can be partly attributable to altered neurotransmission. Indeed, cerebral microdialysis studies in rodents have demonstrated an excessive extracellular glutamate release in the hippocampus within the first 10 min following trauma. Microdialysis offers the clear advantage of in vivo neurotransmitter continuous sampling while not having to sacrifice the animal. In addition to the aforementioned technique, a closed head injury model that exerts rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head and torso is needed, as such a factor is not available in many other animal models. The Wayne State weight-drop model mimics this essential component of human craniocerebral trauma, allowing the induction of an impact on the head of an unrestrained rodent with a falling weight. Our novel and translational rat model combines cerebral microdialysis with the Wayne State weight-drop model to study, in lightly anesthetized and unrestrained adult rats, the acute changes in extracellular neurotransmitter levels following concussion. In this protocol, the microdialysis probe was inserted inside the hippocampus as region of interest, and was left inserted in the brain at impact. There is a high density of terminals and receptors in the hippocampus, making it a relevant region to document altered neurotransmission following concussion. When applied to adult Sprague-Dawley rats, our combined model induced increases in hippocampal extracellular glutamate concentrations within the first 10 min, consistent with the previously reported post-concussion symptomology. This combined weight-drop model provides a reliable tool for researchers to study early therapeutic responses to concussions in addition to repetitive brain injury, since this protocol induces a closed-head mild trauma.


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