Blast Traumatic Brain Injury in the Rat Using a Blast Overpressure Model

Angela M. Yarnell1, Michael C. Shaughness2, Erin S. Barry1, Stephen T. Ahlers2, Richard M. McCarron2, Neil E. Grunberg1

1 Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, 2 Naval Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, Maryland
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Neuroscience
Unit Number:  Unit 9.41
DOI:  10.1002/0471142301.ns0941s62
Online Posting Date:  January, 2013
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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious health concern for civilians and military populations, and blast‐induced TBI (bTBI) has become an increasing problem for military personnel over the past 10 years. To understand the biological and psychological effects of blast‐induced injuries and to examine potential interventions that may help to prevent, attenuate, and treat effects of bTBI, it is valuable to conduct controlled animal experiments. This unit discusses available paradigms to model traumatic brain injury in animals, with an emphasis on the relevance of these various models to study blast‐induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI). This paper describes the detailed methods of a blast overpressure (BOP) paradigm that has been used to conduct experiments with rats to model blast exposure. This particular paradigm models the pressure wave created by explosions, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Curr. Protoc. Neurosci. 62:9.41.1‐9.41.14. © 2013 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: blast overpressure; traumatic brain injury; rat

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Table of Contents

  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
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Basic Protocol 1:

  • Sprague‐Dawley rats (250 to 300 g)
  • Isoflurane and compressed air (gas cylinder) to induce anesthesia
  • Sound‐attenuated room with metal doors (cement block walls lined with 4‐in. thick acoustic foam) (see Fig. )
  • Blast tube composed of:
    • Compression chamber (2.5‐ft long steel tube; 3/8‐in. thickness; 12‐in. internal diameter) connected by a steel pipe connected to a steel braided hose (see Figs. and )
    • Expansion chamber (15‐ft long steel tube; 3/8‐in. thickness; 12‐in. internal diameter) (see Fig. )
    • Cork rings (attached to ends of expansion and compression chambers that meet)
  • Hydraulic lift system (Vickers System Pak Hydraulic Power Unit; see Fig. A,B)
  • Mylar sheets (20‐in. × 20‐in.; thickness depends on air‐blast level)
  • Anesthesia induction chamber (see Fig. )
  • Rat holder (metal mesh basket: 9.5‐in. × 5.5‐in. × 4.5‐in.; see Fig. )
  • Bolting device (steel disc: 19‐in. diameter attaches to the blast tube at opening or “mouth” of expansion chamber, secured by three bolts; see Fig. )
  • Tourniquets to use as restraint straps (three 8 in. rubber straps) with plastic washers (three 1‐in. diameter) and plastic toggles (to tighten tourniquet straps)(see Fig. )
  • Hearing protection for experimenters (see Fig. )
  • 25‐hp 3‐phase electric air compressor (3Z413 Dayton Speedaire, Dayton Electronics MFG Co., Chicago) with rubber hoses (see Fig. )
  • Electrical wiring system connected to air compressor with “on/off” switch outside blast tube room
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Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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