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R. Mark Richardson, Amanpreet Singh, Dong Sun, Helen L. Fillmore, Dalton W. Dietrich III and M. Ross Bullock

Approximately 350,000 individuals in the US are affected annually by severe and moderate traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that may result in long-term disability. This rate of injury has produced ~ 3.3 million disabled survivors in the US alone. There is currently no specific treatment available for TBI other than supportive care, but aggressive prehospital resuscitation, rapid triage, and intensive care have reduced mortality rates. With the recent demonstration that neurogenesis occurs in all mammals (including man) throughout adult life, albeit at a low rate, the concept of replacing neurons lost after TBI is now becoming a reality. Experimental rodent models have shown that neurogenesis is accelerated after TBI, especially in juveniles. Two approaches have been followed in these rodent models to test possible therapeutic approaches that could enhance neuronal replacement in humans after TBI. The first has been to define and quantify the phenomenon of de novo hippocampal and cortical neurogenesis after TBI and find ways to enhance this (for example by exogenous trophic factor administration). A second approach has been the transplantation of different types of neural progenitor cells after TBI. In this review the authors discuss some of the processes that follow after acute TBI including the changes in the brain microenvironment and the role of trophic factor dynamics with regard to the effects on endogenous neurogenesis and gliagenesis. The authors also discuss strategies to clinically harness the factors influencing these processes and repair strategies using exogenous neural progenitor cell transplantation. Each strategy is discussed with an emphasis on highlighting the progress and limiting factors relevant to the development of clinical trials of cellular replacement therapy for severe TBI in humans.

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Zhengwen Zhou, Wilson P. Daugherty, Dong Sun, Joseph E. Levasseur, Nabil Altememi, Robert J. Hamm, Gaylan L. Rockswold and M. Ross Bullock


Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) has been shown to improve outcome after severe traumatic brain injury, but its underlying mechanisms are unknown. Following lateral fluid-percussion injury (FPI), the authors tested the effects of HBO2 treatment as well as enhanced normobaric oxygenation on mitochondrial function, as measured by both cognitive recovery and cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels.


Adult male Sprague–Dawley rats were subjected to moderate lateral FPI or sham injury and were allocated to one of four treatment groups: 1) FPI treated with 4 hours of normobaric 30% O2; 2) FPI treated with 4 hours of normobaric 100% O2; 3) FPI treated with 1 hour of HBO2 plus 3 hours of normobaric 100% O2; and 4) sham-injured treated with normobaric 30% O2. Cognitive outcome was assessed using the Morris water maze (MWM) on Days 11 to 15 after injury. Animals were then killed 21 days postinjury to assess hippocampal neuronal loss. Adenosine triphosphate was extracted from the neocortex and measured using high-performance liquid chromatography. The results showed that injured animals treated with HBO2 or normobaric 100% O2 alone had significantly higher levels of cerebral ATP as compared with animals treated using normobaric 30% O2 (p ≤ 0.05). The injured animals treated with HBO2 had significant improvements in cognitive recovery, as characterized by a shorter latency in MWM performance (p ≤ 0.05), and decreased neuronal loss in the CA2/3 and hilar regions as compared with those treated with 30% or 100% O2 (p ≤ 0.05).


Both hyperbaric and normobaric hyperoxia increased cerebral ATP levels after lateral FPI. In addition, HBO2 treatment improved cognitive recovery and reduced hippocampal neuronal cell loss after brain injury in the rat.

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Taek Hyun Kwon, Dong Sun, Wilson P. Daugherty, Bruce D. Spiess and M. Ross Bullock

Object. This study was conducted to determine whether perfluorocarbons (PFCs) improve brain oxygenation and reduce ischemic brain damage in an acute subdural hematoma (SDH) model in rats.

Methods. Forty adult male Sprague—Dawley rats were allocated to four groups: 1) controls, acute SDH treated with saline and 30% O2; 2) 30-PFC group, acute SDH treated with PFC infusion in 30% O2; 3) 100-O2 group, acute SDH treated with 100% O2; and 4) 100-PFC group, acute SDH treated with PFC plus 100% O2. Ten minutes after the induction of acute SDH, a single dose of PFC was infused and 30% or 100% O2 was administered simultaneously. Four hours later, half of the rats were killed by perfusion for histological study to assess the extent of ischemic brain damage. The other half were used to measure brain tissue oxygen tension (PO2). The volume of ischemic brain damage was 162.4 ± 7.6 mm3 in controls, 165.3 ± 11.3 mm3 in the 30-PFC group, 153.4 ± 17.3 mm3 in the 100-O2 group, and 95.9 ± 12.8 mm3 in the 100-PFC group (41% reduction compared with controls, p = 0.002). Baseline brain tissue PO2 values were approximately 20 mm Hg, and after induction of acute SDH, PO2 rapidly decreased and remained at 1 to 2 mm Hg. Treatment with either PFC or 100% O2 improved brain tissue PO2, with final values of 5.14 and 7.02 mm Hg, respectively. Infusion of PFC with 100% O2 improved brain tissue PO2 the most, with a final value of 15.16 mm Hg.

Conclusions. Data from the current study demonstrated that PFC infusion along with 100% O2 can significantly improve brain oxygenation and reduce ischemic brain damage in acute SDH.

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Wilson P. Daugherty, Joseph E. Levasseur, Dong Sun, Gaylan L. Rockswold and M. Ross Bullock

Object. In the current study, the authors examined the effects of hyperbaric O2 (HBO) following fluid-percussion brain injury and its implications on brain tissue oxygenation (PO2) and O2 consumption (VO2) and mitochondrial function (redox potential).

Methods. Cerebral tissue PO2 was measured following induction of a lateral fluid-percussion brain injury in rats. Hyperbaric O2 treatment (100% O2 at 1.5 ata) significantly increased brain tissue PO2 in both injured and sham-injured animals. For VO2 and redox potential experiments, animals were treated using 30% O2 or HBO therapy for 1 or 4 hours (that is, 4 hours 30% O2 or 1 hour HBO and 3 hours 100% O2). Microrespirometer measurements of VO2 demonstrated significant increases following HBO treatment in both injured and sham-injured animals when compared with animals that underwent 30% O2 treatment. Mitochondrial redox potential, as measured by Alamar blue fluorescence, demonstrated injury-induced reductions at 1 hour postinjury. These reductions were partially reversed at 4 hours postinjury in animals treated with 30% O2 and completely reversed at 4 hours postinjury in animals on HBO therapy when compared with animals treated for only 1 hour.

Conclusions. Analysis of data in the current study demonstrates that HBO significantly increases brain tissue PO2 after injury. Nonetheless, treatment with HBO was insufficient to overcome injury-induced reductions in mitochondrial redox potential at 1 hour postinjury but was able to restore redox potential by 4 hours postinjury. Furthermore, HBO induced an increase in VO2 in both injured and sham-injured animals. Taken together, these data demonstrate that mitochondrial function is depressed by injury and that the recovery of aerobic metabolic function may be enhanced by treatment with HBO.