Small animal models have been used in traumatic brain injury (TBI) research to investigate the basic mechanisms and pathology of TBI. Unfortunately, successful TBI investigations in small animal models have not resulted in marked improvements in clinical outcomes of TBI patients.
To develop a clinically relevant immature large animal model of pediatric neurocritical care following TBI.
Eleven 4 week old piglets were randomized to either rapid axial head rotation without impact (N=6) or instrumented sham (N=5). All animals had an intracranial pressure monitor, brain tissue oxygen (PbtO2) probe, and cerebral microdialysis probe placed in the frontal lobe and data collected for 6 h following injury.
Injured animals had sustained elevations in intracranial pressure and lactate-pyruvate ratio (LPR), and decreased PbtO2 compared to sham. PbtO2 and LPR from separate frontal lobes had strong linear correlation in both sham and injured animals. Neuropathologic examination demonstrated significant axonal injury and infarct volumes in injured animals compared to sham at 6 hours post-injury. Averaged over time, PbtO2 in both injured and sham animals had a strong inverse correlation with total injury volume. Average LPR had a strong correlation with total injury volume.
LPR and PbtO2 can be utilized as serial non-terminal secondary markers in our injury model for neuropathology, and as evaluation metrics for novel interventions and therapeutics in the acute post-injury period. This translational model bridges a vital gap in knowledge between TBI studies in small animal models and clinical trials in the pediatric TBI population.