Effects of traumatic brain injury of different severities on emotional, cognitive, and oxidative stress-related parameters in mice.
ABSTRACT Cognitive deficits and psychiatric disorders are significant sequelae of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Animal models have been widely employed in TBI research, but few studies have addressed the effects of experimental TBI of different severities on emotional and cognitive parameters. In this study, mice were subjected to weight-drop TBI to induce mild, intermediate, or severe TBI. After neurological assessment, the mice recovered for 10 days, and were then subjected to a battery of behavioral tests, which included open-field, elevated plus-maze, forced swimming, tail suspension, and step-down inhibitory avoidance tests. Oxidative stress-related parameters (nonprotein thiols [NPSH], glutathione peroxidase [GPx], glutathione reductase [GR], and thiobarbituric acid reactive species [TBARS]) were quantified in the cortex and hippocampus at 2 and 24 h and 14 days after TBI, and histopathological analysis was performed 15 days after TBI. Mice subjected to mild TBI showed increased anxiety and depressive-like behaviors, while intermediate and severe TBI induced robust memory deficits. The severe TBI group also displayed increased locomotor activity. Intermediate and severe TBI caused extensive macroscopic and microscopic brain damage, while mild TBI typically had no histological abnormalities. Moreover, a significant increase in TBARS in the ipsilateral cortex and GPx in the ipsilateral hippocampus was observed at 24 h and 14 days, respectively, following intermediate TBI. The current experimental TBI model induced emotional and cognitive changes comparable to sequelae seen in human TBI, and it might therefore represent a useful approach to the study of mechanisms of and new treatments for TBI and related disorders.