A Model of Parasagittal Controlled Cortical Impact in the Mouse: Cognitive and Histopathologic Effects

Douglas H. Smith, Holly D. Soares, Jean S. Pierce, Kevin G. Perlman, Kathryn E. Saatman, David F. Meaney, C. Edward Dixon, Tracy K. Mcintosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

382 Scopus citations


Controlled cortical impact (CCI), using a pneumatically driven impactor to produce traumatic brain injury, has been characterized previously in both the ferret and in the rat. In the present study, we applied this technique to establish and characterize the CCI model of brain injury in another species, the mouse, evaluating cognitive and histopathologic outcome. In anesthetized (sodium pentobarbital, 65 mg/kg) male C57BL mice, we performed sham treatment (no injury, n = 12) or CCI injury (n = 12) at a velocity of 5.7–6.2 m/sec and depth of 1 mm, using a 3-mm diameter rounded-tip impounder, positioned over the left parietotemporal cortex (parasagittal). At this level of injury, we observed highly significant deficits in memory retention of a Morris water maze task 2 days following injury (p < 0.001). Postmortem histopathologic analysis performed at 48 h following injury revealed substantial cortical tissue loss in the region of impact and selective hippocampal neuronal cell loss in the CA2, CA3, and CA3c regions, using Nissl staining. Analysis of degenerating neurons using modified Gallyas silver staining techniques demonstrated consistent ipsilateral injury of neurons in the cortex adjacent to the impact site and in the dentate gyrus of the ipsilateral hippocampus. Bilateral degeneration was observed at the gray matter-white matter interface along the corpus callosum. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunohistochemistry revealed extensive reactive gliosis appearing diffusely through the bilateral cortices, hippocampi, and thalami at 48 h postinjury. Breakdown of the blood-brain barrier was demonstrated with antimouse IgG immunohistochemistry, revealing extravasation of endogenous IgG throughout the ipsilateral cortex, hippocampus, and thalamus. These results suggest that this new model of parasagittal CCI in the mouse mimics a number of well-established sequelae observed in previously characterized brain injury models using other rodent species. This mouse model may be a particularly useful experimental tool for comparing behavioral and histopathologic characteristics of traumatic brain injury in wild-type and genetically altered mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-178
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1995


  • brain injury
  • cognition
  • controlled cortical impact
  • hippocampus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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