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J Neurosurg. 1994 Feb;80(2):301-13.

A new model of diffuse brain injury in rats. Part II: Morphological characterization.

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1
Richard Roland Reynolds Neurosurgical Research Laboratories, Division of Neurosurgery, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond.

Abstract

A new model producing diffuse brain injury, without focal brain lesions, has been developed in rats. This has been achieved by allowing a weight of 450 gm to fall onto a metallic disc fixed to the intact skull of the animal which is supported by a foam bed. Two levels of injury were examined by adjusting the height of the falling weight to either 1 m or 2 m. Two groups of animals were studied. Group 1 animals were separated into three subgroups: 10 received a 1-m weight drop, 58 received a 2-m weight drop, and 13 served as controls; all were allowed to breathe spontaneously. Group 2 animals were separated into the same subgroups: four received a 1-m weight drop, six received a 2-m weight drop, and four served as controls; all of these were mechanically ventilated during the procedure. In Group 1, morphological studies using light and electron microscopy were performed at 1, 6, 24, or 72 hours, or 10 days after insult; all Group 2 rats were studied at 24 hours after injury. Results from Group 1 animals showed that no mortality occurred with the 1-m level injury, while 59% mortality was seen with the 2-m level injury. On the other hand, no mortality occurred in Group 2 animals regardless of the level of trauma induced. However, the morphological changes observed in both groups were similar. Gross pathological examination did not reveal any supratentorial focal brain lesion regardless of the severity of the trauma. Petechial hemorrhages were noticed in the brain stem at the 2-m level injury. Microscopically, the model produced a graded widespread injury of the neurons, axons, and microvasculature. Neuronal injury was mainly observed bilaterally in the cerebral cortex. Brain edema, in the form of pericapillary astrocytic swelling, was also noted in these areas of the cerebral cortex and in the brain stem. Most importantly, the trauma resulted in a massive diffuse axonal injury that primarily involved the corpus callosum, internal capsule, optic tracts, cerebral and cerebellar peduncles, and the long tracts in the brain stem. It is concluded that this model would be suitable for studying neuronal, axonal, and vascular changes associated with diffuse brain injury.

PMID:
8283270
DOI:
10.3171/jns.1994.80.2.0301
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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