Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury Triggered by Moderate Intensity Shock Wave Using a Modified Experimental Model of Injury in Mice

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Abstract

Background:

The increasing frequency of explosive injuries has increased interest in blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI). Various shock tube models have been used to study bTBI. Mild-to-moderate explosions are often overlooked because of the slow onset or mildness of the symptoms. However, heavy gas cylinders and large volume chambers in the model may increase the complexity and danger. This study sought to design a modified model to explore the effect of moderate explosion on brain injury in mice.

Methods:

Pathology scoring system (PSS) was used to distinguish the graded intensity by the modified model. A total of 160 mice were randomly divided into control, sham, and bTBI groups with different time points. The clinical features, imaging features, neurobehavior, and neuropathology were detected after moderate explosion. One-way analysis of variance followed by Fisher's least significant difference posttest or Dunnett's t 3-test was performed for data analyses.

Results:

PSS of mild, moderate, and severe explosion was 13.4 ± 2.2, 32.6 ± 2.7 (t = 13.92, P < 0.001; vs. mild group), and 56.6 ± 2.8 (t = 31.37, P < 0.001; vs. mild group), respectively. After moderate explosion, mice showed varied symptoms of malaise, anorexia, incontinence, apnea, or seizure. After bTBI, brain edema reached the highest peak at day 3 (82.5% ± 2.1% vs. 73.8% ± 0.6%, t = 7.76, P < 0.001), while the most serious neurological outcomes occurred at day 1 (Y-maze: 8.25 ± 2.36 vs. 20.00 ± 4.55, t = −4.59, P = 0.048; 29.58% ± 2.84% vs. 49.09% ± 11.63%, t = −3.08, P = 0.008; neurologic severity score: 2.50 ± 0.58 vs. 0.00 ± 0.00, t = 8.65, P = 0.016). We also found that apoptotic neurons (52.76% ± 1.99% vs. 1.30% ± 0.11%, t = 57.20, P < 0.001) and gliosis (2.98 ± 0.24 vs. 1.00 ± 0.00, t = 14.42, P = 0.021) in the frontal were significantly higher at day 3 post-bTBI than sham bTBI.

Conclusions:

We provide a reliable, reproducible bTBI model in mice that can produce a graded explosive waveform similar to the free-field shock wave in a controlled laboratory environment. Moderate explosion can trigger mild-to-moderate blast damage of the brain.

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