Metabolic quantification of lesion volume following experimental traumatic brain injury in the rat

Brian R. Perri, Douglas H. Smith, Hisayuki Murai, Grant Sinson, Kathryn E. Saatman, Ramesh Raghupathi, Raymond T. Bartus, Tracy K. McIntosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


A reliable and rapid method for quantifying lesion volume following traumatic brain injury (TBI) has vast potential in brain injury research. Staining with 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) provides for demarcation of damaged or infarcted tissue from normal, viable cerebral tissue, in which a red formazan product is formed by reduction during cellular respiration of mitochondrial dehydrogenase enzymes. The present study evaluated the use of TTC staining to quantify the cortical lesion volume in rats undergoing fluid-percussion (FP) brain injury. Male Sprague- Dawley rats (350-450 g, n = 27) were anesthetized (sodium pentobarbital, 60 mg/kg, ip) and subjected to lateral FP brain injury of mild (1.1-1.3 atm, n = 5), moderate (2.0-2.3 atm, n = 9), or high (2.4-2.6 arm, n = 8) severity, while sham (noninjured) animals (n = 5) were anesthetized and surgically prepared without injury. Forty-eight hours after injury animals were sacrificed, brains were stained with TTC, and lesion volumes were calculated. A highly significant correlation was found between cerebral cortical lesion volume (mm3) and severity of brain injury (r = 0.85; p < 0.0001). The mean (± SD) lesion volumes were 12.1 (± 4.5) mm3 following mild injury, 33.8 (± 8.6) mm3 following moderate injury, and 45.1 (± 14.0) mm3 following severe injury. A significant difference was observed between all injury groups using a t test with Bonferroni correction (p < 0.05). These results suggest that the TTC staining technique is a useful, rapid, and reproducible method for quantification of lesion volume following lateral FP brain injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • TTC
  • brain injury
  • histopathology
  • lateral fluid-percussion
  • lesion volume
  • metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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