Research Reports - Juvenile traumatic brain injury evolves into a chronic brain disorder: Behavioral histological changes over 6months

Exp Neurol. 2013 Sep 25

Kamper JE, Pop V, Fukuda A, Ajao D, Hartman R, Badaut J

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) refers to physical trauma to the brain that can lead
to motor and cognitive dysfunctions. TBI is particularly serious in infants and
young children, often leading to long-term functional impairments. Although
clinical research is useful for quantifying and observing the effects of these
injuries, few studies have empirically assessed the long-term effects of juvenile
TBI (jTBI) on behavior and histology. After a controlled cortical impact
delivered to postnatal 17day old rats, functional abilities were measured after
3, 5, and 6months using open field (activity levels), zero maze (anxiety-like
behaviors), rotarod (sensorimotor abilities, coordination, and balance), and
water maze (spatial learning and memory, swim speed, turn bias). Sensorimotor
function was impaired for up to 6months in jTBI animals, which showed no
improvement from repeated test exposure. Although spatial learning was not
impaired, spatial memory deficits were observed in jTBI animals starting at
3months after injury. Magnetic resonance imaging and histological data revealed
that the effects of jTBI were evolving for up to 6months post-injury, with
reduced cortical thickness, decreased corpus callosum area and CA1 neuronal cell
death in jTBI animals distant to the impact site. These findings suggest that
this model of jTBI produces long-term impairments comparable to those reported
clinically. Although some deficits were stable over time, the variable nature of
other deficits (e.g., memory) as well as changing properties of the lesion
itself, suggest that the effects of a single jTBI produce a chronic brain
disorder with long-term complications.

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