Inertial Acceleration Brain Injury

Rotational acceleration of the head due to unrestricted movement causes rotation and deformation of the brain if the loading conditions exceed a certain threshold. Moreover, the rotational acceleration forces necessary to induce damage increase exponentially with decreasing brain size, and no injury device exists that can meet the parameters to reliably produce experimental TBI in rodents. Because a high percentage of patients suffer from TBI not associated with direct contact forces to the head but with rotational forces leading to diffuse brain injury, a model of inertial acceleration injury has been modified from earlier studies conducted in primates to allow for further studies of this type of damage. This model uses the minipig as the species of choice because of its gyrencephalic brain structure and relatively large brain mass compared to its body weight. To produce injury, the anesthetized miniature swine is positioned prone on the injury device, the head is tightly fixed, and inertial loading is produced through a biphasic cen-troidal rotation for 110° within 20 msec. Additionally, a model using sheep has been developed that is considered to produce mainly diffuse TBI due to mechanical loading to the head. At present, these are the only existing models that are available to produce widely distributed traumatic axonal pathology in the deep white matter at the root of the gyri and the junction of white and gray matter. Additionally, neuronal loss in the cortex and cerebellum next to bilateral damage to hippocampal structures that are known to be selectively vulnerable to TBI is reported. Unfortunately, the lack of availability of tests to assess neurobehavioral impairment in these animals and high costs and technical demands limit the utility of these models at present. To date, only two research centers have performed a small number of histological and radiological investigations elucidating the characteristic posttraumatic sequelae after inertial loading to the brain in the experimental setting.

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