Experimental models of traumatic brain injury: do we really need to build a better mousetrap?

Traumatic Brain Injury Laboratory, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Pennsylvania, 3320 Smith Walk, 105C Hayden Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 3.33). 02/2005; 136(4):971-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2005.08.030
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Approximately 4000 human beings experience a traumatic brain injury each day in the United States ranging in severity from mild to fatal. Improvements in initial management, surgical treatment, and neurointensive care have resulted in a better prognosis for traumatic brain injury patients but, to date, there is no available pharmaceutical treatment with proven efficacy, and prevention is the major protective strategy. Many patients are left with disabling changes in cognition, motor function, and personality. Over the past two decades, a number of experimental laboratories have attempted to develop novel and innovative ways to replicate, in animal models, the different aspects of this heterogenous clinical paradigm to better understand and treat patients after traumatic brain injury. Although several clinically-relevant but different experimental models have been developed to reproduce specific characteristics of human traumatic brain injury, its heterogeneity does not allow one single model to reproduce the entire spectrum of events that may occur. The use of these models has resulted in an increased understanding of the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury, including changes in molecular and cellular pathways and neurobehavioral outcomes. This review provides an up-to-date and critical analysis of the existing models of traumatic brain injury with a view toward guiding and improving future research endeavors.

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