Increase in blood-brain barrier permeability, oxidative stress, and activated microglia in a rat model of blast-induced traumatic brain injury

Ryan D. Readnower, Mikulas Chavko, Saleena Adeeb, Michael D. Conroy, James R. Pauly, Richard M. McCarron, Patrick G. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

218 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a consequence of exposure to blast is increasingly prevalent in military populations, with the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms mostly unknown. In the present study, we utilized an air-driven shock tube to investigate the effects of blast exposure (120 kPa) on rat brains. Immediately following exposure to blast, neurological function was reduced. BBB permeability was measured using IgG antibody and evaluating its immunoreactivity in the brain. At 3 and 24 hr postexposure, there was a transient significant increase in IgG staining in the cortex. At 3 days postexposure, IgG immunoreactivity returned to control levels. Quantitative immunostaining was employed to determine the temporal course of brain oxidative stress following exposure to blast. Levels of 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) and 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NT) were significantly increased at 3 hr postexposure and returned to control levels at 24 hr postexposure. The response of microglia to blast exposure was determined by autoradiographic localization of 3H-PK11195 binding. At 5 days postexposure, increased binding was observed in the contralateral and ipsilateral dentate gyrus. These regions also displayed increased binding at 10 days postexposure; in addition to these regions there was increased binding in the contralateral ventral hippocampus and substantia nigra at this time point. By using antibodies against CD11b/c, microglia morphology characteristic of activated microglia was observed in the hippocampus and substantia nigra of animals exposed to blast. These results indicate that BBB breakdown, oxidative stress, and microglia activation likely play a role in the neuropathology associated with TBI as a result of blast exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3530-3539
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number16
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress
  • PK11195
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Increase in blood-brain barrier permeability, oxidative stress, and activated microglia in a rat model of blast-induced traumatic brain injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this