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Helen M. Bramlett, Edward J. Green and W. Dalton Dietrich

Object. Patients with head injuries often experience respiratory distress that results in a secondary hypoxic insult. The present experiment was designed to assess the histopathological consequences of a secondary hypoxic insult by using an established rodent model of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Methods. Intubated anesthetized rats were subjected to moderate (1.94–2.18 atm) parasagittal fluid-percussion injury (FPI) to the brain. Following the TBI, the animals were maintained for 30 minutes by using either hypoxic (TBI-HY group, nine animals) or normoxic (TBI-NO, 10 animals) gas levels. Sham-operated animals also underwent all manipulations except for the FPI (sham-HY group, seven animals; and sham-NO group, seven animals). Three days after TBI the rats were killed, and quantitative histopathological evaluation was undertaken. Cortical contusion volumes were dramatically increased in the TBI-HY group compared with the TBI-NO group (p < 0.03). Qualitative assessment of cortical and subcortical structures demonstrated significant damage within the hippocampal areas, CA1 and CA2, of TBI-HY animals compared with the TBI-NO animals (both p < 0.03). There was also a significant increase in the frequency of damaged neuronal profiles within the middle and medial sectors of the CA1 hippocampus (p < 0.03) due to the hypoxic insult.

Conclusions. The results of this study demonstrate that a secondary hypoxic insult following parasagittal FPI exacerbates contusion and neuronal pathological conditions. These findings emphasize the need to control for secondary hypoxic insults after experimental and human head injury.

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Kojiro Wada, Katina Chatzipanteli, Raul Busto and W. Dalton Dietrich

Object. Although nitric oxide (NO) has been shown to play an important role in the pathophysiological process of cerebral ischemia, its contribution to the pathogenesis of traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains to be clarified. The authors investigated alterations in constitutive nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity after TBI and the histopathological response to pharmacological manipulations of NO.

Methods. Male Sprague—Dawley rats underwent moderate (1.7–2.2 atm) parasagittal fluid-percussion brain injury. Constitutive NOS activity significantly increased within the ipsilateral parietal cerebral cortex, which is the site of histopathological vulnerability, 5 minutes after TBI occurred (234.5 ± 60.2% of contralateral value [mean ± standard error of the mean {SEM}], p < 0.05), returned to control values by 30 minutes (114.1 ± 17.4%), and was reduced at 1 day after TBI (50.5 ± 13.1%, p < 0.01). The reduction in constitutive NOS activity remained for up to 7 days after TBI (31.8 ± 6.0% at 3 days, p < 0.05; 20.1 ± 12.7% at 7 days, p < 0.01). Pretreatment with 3-bromo-7-nitroindazole (7-NI ) (25 mg/kg), a relatively specific inhibitor of neuronal NOS, significantly decreased contusion volume (1.27 ± 0.17 mm3 [mean ± SEM], p < 0.05) compared with that of control (2.52 ± 0.35 mm3). However, posttreatment with 7-NI or pre- or posttreatment with nitro-l-arginine-methyl ester (l-NAME) (15 mg/kg), a nonspecific inhibitor of NOS, did not affect the contusion volume compared with that of control animals (1.87 ± 0.46 mm3, 2.13 ± 0.43 mm3, and 2.18 ± 0.53 mm3, respectively). Posttreatment with l-arginine (1.1 ± 0.3 mm3, p < 0.05), but not 3-morpholino-sydnonimine (SIN-1) (2.48 ± 0.37 mm3), significantly reduced the contusion volume compared with that of control animals.

Conclusions. These data indicate that constitutive NOS activity is affected after moderate parasagittal fluid percussion brain injury in a time-dependent manner. Inhibition of activated neuronal NOS and/or enhanced endothelial NOS activation may represent a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of TBI.

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Carlos A. David, Ricardo Prado and W. Dalton Dietrich

✓ Temporary arterial occlusion has been routinely used as an adjunct in intracranial aneurysm surgery. This has commonly been performed using a protocol of multiple short periods of occlusion alternating with periods of restoration of normal circulation. Recently, the logical basis of this method has come under scrutiny. There is extensive experimental evidence to suggest that repetitive, brief periods of global ischemia may cause more severe cerebral injury than an equivalent single period of global ischemia. Only recently has this issue begun to be addressed with regard to focal ischemia. Hence, despite the common use of temporary clipping, little experimental data are available regarding the ischemic consequences of temporary arterial occlusion with periods of reperfusion versus uninterrupted temporary occlusion.

To investigate this issue, a protocol of occlusion/reperfusion that simulates the temporal profile that occurs during surgery was performed in a rat model of focal ischemia. Sixteen anesthetized Sprague—Dawley rats were divided into two groups. The animals in Group I underwent 60 minutes of uninterrupted middle cerebral artery occlusion and the animals in Group II were subjected to six separate 10-minute occlusion periods with 5 minutes of reperfusion between occlusions. Histopathological analysis was performed 72 hours postischemia. Group I had significantly increased mean infarction volumes (50.0 ± 12.1 mm3) compared to Group II (8.7 ± 3.1 mm3) (p = 0.008). Injuries in Group I occurred in both the cortex and striatum, whereas Group II showed only striatal injuries. Furthermore, the extent of the injuries in Group II was less severe, characterized by ischemic neuronal injury rather than frank infarction.

The results indicate that intermittent reperfusion is neuroprotective during temporary focal ischemia and support the hypothesis that intermittent reperfusion is beneficial if temporary clipping is required during aneurysm repair.

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Photochemically induced graded spinal cord infarction

Behavioral, electrophysiological, and morphological correlates

Ricardo Prado, W. Dalton Dietrich, Brant D. Watson, Myron D. Ginsberg and Barth A. Green

✓ Neurological and morphological outcome was evaluated in a rat model of graded spinal cord infarction initiated by a photochemical reaction. In this model, light-dye interactions induce primary microvascular stasis, resulting in consistent patterns of tissue necrosis. Four groups of rats underwent photoinduction times ranging from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. Neurological and electrophysiological functions were assessed starting 1 week after irradiation and continuing for 8 weeks. A functional neurological score was obtained by combining results from sensory and motor tasks, and electrophysiological function was evaluated from the somatosensory evoked potential recordings. In rats irradiated for short periods (30 seconds and 1 minute) mild behavioral deficits were documented. In contrast, electrical conduction was suppressed acutely in both groups; this recovered by 8 weeks to baseline or near baseline in the 30-second group but not in the 1-minute group. In rats irradiated for longer periods (5 and 10 minutes), severe behavioral and conduction abnormalities were detected at both the subacute and chronic testing periods. Although no significant difference in behavior was documented between the 5- and 10-minute groups acutely, the rats with 5-minute photoinduction time demonstrated a significant improvement in behavior over time whereas the group with 10-minute photoinduction time showed no improvement. A severe conduction block was present in both animal groups during the course of the study. Histopathological examination combined with morphometric measurements of the lesion area in cross section revealed four different degrees of spinal cord necrosis which correlated significantly with photoinduction times and neurological scores at 8 weeks. Reproducible degrees of ischemic damage to spinal cord parenchyma following primary microvascular occlusion result in a predictable sequence of behavioral and functional abnormalities, which in some cases recover with time.

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Argon laser-induced arterial photothrombosis

Characterization and possible application to therapy of arteriovenous malformations

Brant D. Watson, W. Dalton Dietrich, Ricardo Prado and Myron D. Ginsberg

✓ The common carotid, femoral, and middle cerebral arteries in the rat have been occluded thrombotically by means of a rose bengal dye-sensitized photochemical reaction initiated in vascular endothelium by the 514.5-nm beam of an argon laser, focused for maximum excitation efficiency of the photosensitizer according to a derived criterion. The total energy required for vessel occlusion was approximately 1 joule (J) for the middle cerebral artery and 140 to 180 J for the femoral and carotid arteries. At energy fluences (energy deposited per unit area) of 3.5 kJ/sq cm for the middle cerebral artery and 35 kJ/sq cm for the larger arteries, occlusion was observed within 3 minutes. The middle cerebral artery thrombus consisted entirely of aggregated platelets; in the larger arteries the thrombi were composed of platelet aggregates and groups of red blood cells interspersed within a matrix of coagulum. Vessels irradiated similarly in the absence of rose bengal dye displayed no morphological or functional damage. Because the photochemical reaction is mediated by electronic-state transitions, the process of photothrombosis (as opposed to photocoagulation) can be initiated in vessels with high flow rates without the requirement of increased temperature. The photothrombotic technique may be useful in the treatment of arteriovenous malformations owing to its significant enhancement of the efficiency and permanency of vessel occlusion.

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Kosaku Kinoshita, Katina Chatzipanteli, Ofelia F. Alonso, Mackenzie Howard and W. Dalton Dietrich

Object. Although the benefits of posttraumatic hypothermia have been reported in experimental studies, the potential for therapeutic hypothermia to increase intracerebral hemorrhage remains a clinical concern. The purpose of this study was to quantify the amount of extravasated hemoglobin after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to assess the changes in intracerebral hemoglobin concentrations under posttraumatic hypothermic and hyperthermic conditions.

Methods. Intubated and anesthetized rats were subjected to fluid-percussion injury (FPI). In the first experiment, rats were divided into moderate (1.8–2.2 atm) and severe (2.4–2.7 atm) TBI groups. In the second experiment, the effects of 3 hours of posttraumatic hypothermia (33 or 30°C), hyperthermia (39°C), or normothermia (37°C) on hemoglobin levels following moderate trauma were assessed. The rats were perfused with saline at 24 hours postinjury, and then the traumatized and contralateral hemispheres, including the cerebellum, were dissected from whole brain. The hemoglobin level in each brain was quantified using a spectrophotometric hemoglobin assay. The results of these assays indicate that moderate and severe FPI induce increased levels of hemoglobin in the ipsilateral hemisphere (p < 0.0001). After severe TBI, the hemoglobin concentration was also significantly increased in the contralateral hemisphere (p < 0.05) and cerebellum (p < 0.005). Posttraumatic hypothermia (30°C) attenuated hemoglobin levels (p < 0.005) in the ipsilateral hemisphere, whereas hyperthermia had a marked adverse effect on the hemoglobin concentration in the contralateral hemisphere (p < 0.05) and cerebellum (p < 0.005).

Conclusions. Injury severity is an important determinant of the degree of hemoglobin extravasation after TBI. Posttraumatic hypothermia reduced hemoglobin extravasation, whereas hyperthermia increased hemoglobin levels compared with normothermia. These findings are consistent with previous data reporting that posttraumatic temperature manipulations alter the cerebrovascular and inflammatory consequences of TBI.

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Stephanie Adamczak, Gordon Dale, Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari, M. Ross Bullock, W. Dalton Dietrich and Robert W. Keane

Object

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), the third most common CNS pathology, plagues 5.3 million Americans with permanent TBI-related disabilities. To evaluate injury severity and prognosis, physicians rely on clinical variables. Here, the authors seek objective, biochemical markers reflecting molecular injury mechanisms specific to the CNS as more accurate measurements of injury severity and outcome. One such secondary injury mechanism, the innate immune response, is regulated by the inflammasome, a molecular platform that activates caspase-1 and interleukin-1β.

Methods

The authors investigated whether inflammasome components were present in the CSF of 23 patients with TBI and whether levels of inflammasome components correlate with outcome. The authors performed an immunoblot analysis of CSF samples from patients who suffered TBI and nontrauma controls and assessed the outcomes 5 months postinjury by using the Glasgow Outcome Scale. Data were analyzed using Mann-Whitney U-tests and linear regression analysis.

Results

Patients with severe or moderate cranial trauma exhibited significantly higher CSF levels of the inflammasome proteins ASC, caspase-1, and NALP-1 than nontrauma controls (p < 0.0001, p = 0.0029, and p = 0.0202, respectively). Expression of each protein correlated significantly with the Glasgow Outcome Scale score at 5 months postinjury (p < 0.05). ASC, caspase-1, and NALP-1 were significantly higher in the CSF of patients with unfavorable outcomes, including death and severe disability (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions

NALP-1 inflammasome proteins are potential biomarkers to assess TBI severity, outcome, and the secondary injury mechanisms impeding recovery, serving as adjuncts to clinical predictors.

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Shoji Yokobori, Shyam Gajavelli, Stefania Mondello, Jixiang Mo-Seaney, Helen M. Bramlett, W. Dalton Dietrich and M. Ross Bullock

Object

In patients who have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI), hypothermia therapy has not shown efficacy in multicenter clinical trials. Armed with the post hoc data from the latest clinical trial (National Acute Brain Injury Study: Hypothermia II), the authors hypothesized that hypothermia may be beneficial in an acute subdural hematoma (SDH) rat model by blunting the effects of ischemia/reperfusion injury. The major aim of this study was to test the efficacy of temperature management in reducing brain damage after acute SDH.

Methods

The rats were induced with acute SDH and placed into 1 of 4 groups: 1) normothermia group (37°C); 2) early hypothermia group, head and body temperature reduced to 33°C 30 minutes prior to craniotomy; 3) late hypothermia group, temperature lowered to 33°C 30 minutes after decompression; and 4) sham group, no acute SDH (only craniotomy with normothermia). To assess for neuronal and glial cell damage, the authors analyzed microdialysate concentrations of GFAP and ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1) by using a 100-kD probe. Fluoro-Jade B–positive neurons and injury volume with 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining were also measured.

Results

In the early phase of reperfusion (30 minutes, 2.5 hours after decompression), extracellular UCH-L1 in the early hypothermia group was significantly lower than in the normothermia group (early, 4.9 ± 1.0 ng/dl; late, 35.2 ± 12.1 ng/dl; normothermia, 50.20 ± 28.3 ng/dl; sham, 3.1 ± 1.3 ng/dl; early vs normothermia, p < 0.01; sham vs normothermia, p < 0.01, analyzed using ANOVA followed by a post hoc Bonferroni test). In the late phase of reperfusion (> 2.5 hours after decompression), extracellular GFAP in the early hypothermia group was also lower than in the normothermia and late hypothermia groups (early, 5.5 ± 2.9 ng/dl; late, 7.4 ± 3.4 ng/dl; normothermia, 15.3 ± 8.4 ng/dl; sham, 3.3 ± 1.0 ng/dl; normothermia vs sham; p < 0.01). The number of Fluoro-Jade B–positive cells in the early hypothermia group was significantly smaller than that in the normothermia group (normothermia vs early: 774,588 ± 162,173 vs 180,903 ± 42,212, p < 0.05). Also, the injury area and volume were smaller in the early hypothermia group in which hypothermia was induced before craniotomy and cerebral reperfusion (early, 115.2 ± 15.4 mm3; late, 344.7 ± 29.1 mm3; normothermia, 311.2 ± 79.2 mm3; p < 0.05).

Conclusions

The data suggest that early, preoperatively induced hypothermia could mediate the reduction of neuronal and glial damage in the reperfusion phase of ischemia/reperfusion brain injury.

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Chen Guang Yu, Omar Jimenez, Alexander E. Marcillo, Brian Weider, Kurt Bangerter, W. Dalton Dietrich, Santiago Castro and Robert P. Yezierski

Object. Local spinal cord cooling (LSCC) is associated with beneficial effects when applied following ischemic or traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). However, the clinical application of LSCC is associated with many technical difficulties such as the requirement of special cooling devices, emergency surgery, and complicated postoperative management. If hypothermia is to be considered for future application in the treatment of SCI, alternative approaches must be developed. The objectives of the present study were to evaluate 1) the relationship between systemic and epidural temperature after SCI; 2) the effects of modest systemic hypothermia on histopathological damage at 7 and 44 days post-SCI; and 3) the effects of modest systemic hypothermia on locomotor outcome at 44 days post-SCI.

Methods. A spinal cord contusion (12.5 mm at T-10) was produced in adult rats that had been randomly divided into two groups. Group 1 rats (seven in Experiment 1; 12 in Experiment 2) received hypothermic treatment (epidural temperature 32–33°C) 30 minutes postinjury for 4 hours; Group 2 rats (nine in Experiment 1; eight in Experiment 2) received normothermic treatment (epidural temperature 37°C) 30 minutes postinjury for 4 hours. Blood pressure, blood gas levels, and temperatures (epidural and rectal) were monitored throughout the 4-hour treatment period. Twice weekly assessment of locomotor function was performed over a 6-week survival period by using the Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan locomotor rating scale. Seven (Experiment 1) and 44 (Experiment 2) days after injury, animals were killed, perfused, and their spinal cords were serially sectioned. The area of tissue damage was quantitatively analyzed from 16 longitudinal sections selected from the central core of the spinal cord.

Conclusions. The results showed that 1) modest changes in the epidural temperature of the spinal cord can be produced using systemic hypothermia; 2) modest systemic hypothermia (32–33°C) significantly protects against locomotor deficits following traumatic SCI; and 3) modest systemic hypothermia (32–33°C) reduces the area of tissue damage at both 7 and 44 days postinjury. Although additional research is needed to study the therapeutic window and long-term benefits of systemic hypothermia, these data support the possible use of modest systemic hypothermia in the treatment of acute SCI.