Mechanisms of Blast Induced Brain Injuries, Experimental Studies in Rats.
Journal article, 2011
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) potentially induced by blast waves from detonations result in significant diagnostic problems. It may be assumed that several mechanisms contribute to the injury. This study is an attempt to characterize the presumed components of the blast induced TBI. Our experimental models include a blast tube in which an anesthetized rat can be exposed to controlled detonations of explosives that result in a pressure wave with a magnitude between 130 and 260 kPa. In this model, the animal is fixed with a metal net to avoid head acceleration forces. The second model is a controlled penetration of a 2 mm thick needle. In the third model the animal is subjected to a high-speed sagittal rotation angular acceleration. Immunohistochemical labeling for amyloid precursor protein revealed signs of diffuse axonal injury (DAI) in the penetration and rotation models. Signs of punctuate inflammation were observed after focal and rotation injury. Exposure in the blast tube did not induce DAI or detectable cell death, but functional changes. Affymetrix Gene arrays showed changes in the expression in a large number of gene families including cell death, inflammation and neurotransmitters in the hippocampus after both acceleration and penetration injuries. Exposure to the primary blast wave induced limited shifts in gene expression in the hippocampus. The most interesting findings were a downregulation of genes involved in neurogenesis and synaptic transmission. These experiments indicate that rotational acceleration may be a critical factor for DAI and other acute changes after blast TBI. The further exploration of the mechanisms of blast TBI will have to include a search for long-term effects.