In vitro central nervous system models of mechanically induced trauma: A review

Barclay Morrison, Kathryn E. Saatman, David F. Meaney, Tracy K. McIntosh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


Injury is one of the leading causes of death among all people below the age of 45 years. In the United States, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI) together are responsible for an estimated 90,000 disabled persons annually. To improve treatment of the patient and thereby decrease the associated mortality, morbidity, and cost, several in vivo models of central nervous system (CNS) injury have been developed and characterized over the past two decades. To complement the ability of these in vivo models to reproduce the sequelae of human CNS injury, in vitro models of neuronal injury have also been developed. Despite the inherent simplifications of these in vitro systems, many aspects of the posttraumatic sequelae are faithfully reproduced in cultured cells, including ultrastructural changes, ionic derangements, alterations in electrophysiology, and free radical generation. This review presents a number of these in vitro systems, detailing the mechanical stimuli, the types of tissue injured, and the in vivo injury conditions most closely reproduced by the models. The data generated with these systems is then compared and contrasted with data from in vivo models of CNS injury. We believe that in vitro models of mechanical injury will continue to be a valuable tool to study the cellular consequences and evaluate the potential therapeutic strategies for the treatment of traumatic injury of the CNS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-928
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1998


  • Cell culture
  • Glia
  • Injury mechanisms
  • Intervention
  • Mechanical stimulus
  • Neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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