Spontaneous epileptiform activity in rat neocortex after controlled cortical impact injury.
ABSTRACT A hallmark of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the development of post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE). However, the mechanisms underlying PTE remain poorly understood. In this study, we used a controlled cortical impact (CCI) model in rats to examine post-traumatic changes in neocortical excitability. Neocortical slices were prepared from rats at 7-9 days (week 1) and 14-16 days (week 2) after CCI injury. By week 2, we observed a substantial gray matter lesion with a cavity that extended to the hippocampal structure. Fluoro-Jade B staining of slices revealed active neuronal degeneration during weeks 1 and 2. Intracellular and extracellular recordings obtained from layer V revealed evoked and spontaneous epileptiform discharges in neocortices of CCI-injured rats. At week 1, intracellular recordings from pyramidal cells revealed evoked epileptiform firing that was synchronized with population events recorded extracellularly, suggestive of increased excitability. This activity was characterized by bursts of action potentials that were followed by recurrent, repetitive after-discharges. At week 2, both spontaneous and evoked epileptiform firing were recorded in slices from injured rats. The evoked discharges resembled those observed at week 1, but with longer burst durations. Spontaneous activity included prolonged, ictal-like discharges lasting up to 8-10 sec, and briefer interictal-like burst events (<1 sec). These results indicate that during the first 2 weeks following severe CCI injury, there is a progressive development of neocortical hyperexcitability that ultimately leads to spontaneous epileptiform firing, suggesting a rapid epileptogenic process.
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ABSTRACT: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability in young adults. Survivors of TBI frequently suffer from long-term personality changes and deficits in cognitive and motor performance, urgently calling for novel pharmacological treatment options. To date, all clinical trials evaluating neuroprotective compounds have failed in demonstrating clinical efficacy in cohorts of severely injured TBI patients. The purpose of the present review is to describe the utility of animal models of TBI for preclinical evaluation of pharmacological compounds. No single animal model can adequately mimic all aspects of human TBI owing to the heterogeneity of clinical TBI. To successfully develop compounds for clinical TBI, a thorough evaluation in several TBI models and injury severities is crucial. Additionally, brain pharmacokinetics and the time window must be carefully evaluated. Although the search for a single-compound, 'silver bullet' therapy is ongoing, a combination of drugs targeting various aspects of neuroprotection, neuroinflammation and regeneration may be needed. In summary, finding drugs and prove clinical efficacy in TBI is a major challenge ahead for the research community and the drug industry. For a successful translation of basic science knowledge to the clinic to occur we believe that a further refinement of animal models and functional outcome methods is important. In the clinical setting, improved patient classification, more homogenous patient cohorts in clinical trials, standardized treatment strategies, improved central nervous system drug delivery systems and monitoring of target drug levels and drug effects is warranted.British Journal of Pharmacology 12/2010; 164(4):1207-29. · 5.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Globally, it is estimated that nearly 10 million people sustain severe brain injuries leading to hospitalization and/or death every year. Amongst survivors, traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in a wide variety of physical, emotional and cognitive deficits. The most common cognitive deficit associated with TBI is memory loss, involving impairments in spatial reference and working memory. However, the majority of research thus far has characterized the deficits associated with TBI on either reference or working memory systems separately, without investigating how they interact within a single task. Thus, we examined the effects of TBI on short-term working and long-term reference memory using the radial 8-arm maze (RAM) with a sequence of four baited and four unbaited arms. Subjects were given 10 daily trials for 6 days followed by a memory retrieval test 2 weeks after training. Multiple training trials not only provide robust training, but also test the subjects' ability to frequently update short-term memory while learning the reference rules of the task. Our results show that TBI significantly impaired short-term working memory function on previously acquired spatial information but has little effect on long-term reference memory. Additionally, TBI significantly increased working memory errors during acquisition and reference memory errors during retention testing 2 weeks later. With a longer recovery period after TBI, the robust RAM training mitigated the reference memory deficit in retention but not the short-term working memory deficit during acquisition. These results identify the resiliency and vulnerabilities of short-term working and long-term reference memory to TBI in the context of robust training. The data highlight the role of cognitive training and other behavioral remediation strategies implicated in attenuating deficits associated with TBI.Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2013; 7:38. · 4.76 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a blow to the head is often associated with complex patterns of brain abnormalities that accompany deficits in cognitive and motor function. Previously we reported that a long-term consequence of TBI, induced with a closed-head injury method modelling human car and sporting accidents, is neuronal hyper-excitation in the rat sensory barrel cortex that receives tactile input from the face whiskers. Hyper-excitation occurred only in supra-granular layers and was stronger to complex than simple stimuli. We now examine changes in the immediate aftermath of TBI induced with same injury method. At 24 hours post-trauma significant sensorimotor deficits were observed and characterisation of the cortical population neuronal responses at that time revealed a depth-dependent suppression of neuronal responses, with reduced responses from supragranular layers through to input layer IV, but not in infragranular layers. In addition, increased spontaneous firing rate was recorded in cortical layers IV and V. We postulate that this early post-injury suppression of cortical processing of sensory input accounts for immediate post-trauma sensory morbidity and sets into train events that resolve into long-term cortical hyper-excitability in upper sensory cortex layers that may account for long-term sensory hyper-sensitivity in humans with TBI.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(5):e63454. · 3.53 Impact Factor