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Under pressure: Novel technology to model pressure-induced cellular injuries in the brain

 

Under pressure: Novel technology to model pressure-induced cellular injuries in the brain

December 2, 2017
Housed inside a commercial cell culture incubator (A) are separate Plexiglas pressure chambers (B). Pressure is generated via compressed breathing air with 5% CO2that is controlled by a dual stage regulator (C) connected to manifold (D) …more

Hundreds of thousands of patients from newborns to the elderly are forced to grapple with the devastation of brain injury each year, and unlike many diseases where certain demographics are protected, brain injury can happen to anyone, anytime and anywhere. Elevated intracranial pressure (ICP), which is a byproduct of the rigid skull in which the brain resides, is the primary cause of initial injury. High ICP in turn causes cellular injuries in the brain and additional neurological deficits beyond those associated with the initial insult. Although substantial research has been done on brain injuries, most of it focuses on patient outcomes after the primary insult and does not explore the secondary cellular injuries caused by persistent elevation of ICP or the mechanisms that underlie them. As a result, little is known about those mechanisms.

“The novelty of this model is that there are very few examples in the literature where people have been able to put cells under pressure to see the effects,” says Michael E. Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurosurgery in the MUSC College of Medicine and first author on the article.

“In patients with brain injury, the initial insult has already occurred and the clinician can only do so much to address that damage. Addressing the secondary ICP-induced effects could help minimize the neurological deficits sustained by the patient. We are interested in modeling ICP-induced secondary cellular injury to facilitate the development of such therapies.”…

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