, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 410-422

Animal models of head trauma

Summary

Animal models of traumatic brain injury (TBI) are used to elucidate primary and secondary sequelae underlying human head injury in an effort to identify potential neuroprotective therapies for developing and adult brains. The choice of experimental model depends upon both the research goal and underlying objectives. The intrinsic ability to study injury-induced changes in behavior, physiology, metabolism, the blood/tissue interface, the blood brain barrier, and/or inflammatory- and immune-mediated responses, makes in vivo TBI models essential for neurotrauma research. Whereas human TBI is a highly complex multifactorial disorder, animal trauma models tend to replicate only single factors involved in the pathobiology of head injury using genetically well-defined inbred animals of a single sex. Although such an experimental approach is helpful to delineate key injury mechanisms, the simplicity and hence inability of animal models to reflect the complexity of clinical head injury may underlie the discrepancy between preclinical and clinical trials of neuroprotective therapeutics. Thus, a search continues for new animal models, which would more closely mimic the highly heterogeneous nature of human TBI, and address key factors in treatment optimization.