A compact blast-induced traumatic brain injury model in mice

Hongxing Wang, Yi Ping Zhang, Jun Cai, Lisa B.E. Shields, Chad A. Tuchek, Riyi Shi, Jianan Li, Christopher B. Shields, Xiao Ming Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI) is a common injury on the battlefield and often results in permanent cognitive and neurological abnormalities. We report a novel compact device that creates graded bTBI in mice. The injury severity can be controlled by precise pressures that mimic Friedlander shockwave curves. The mouse head was stabilized with a head fixator, and the body was protected with a metal shield; shockwave durations were 3 to 4 milliseconds. Reflective shockwave peak readings at the position of the mouse head were 12 ± 2.6 psi, 50 ± 20.3 psi, and 100 ± 33.1 psi at 100, 200, and 250 psi predetermined driver chamber pressures, respectively. The bTBIs of 250 psi caused 80% mortality, which decreased to 27% with the metal shield. Brain and lung damage depended on the shockwave duration and amplitude. Cognitive deficits were assessed using the Morris water maze, Y-maze, and open-field tests. Pathological changes in the brain included disruption of the blood-brain barrier, multifocal neuronal and axonal degeneration, and reactive gliosis assessed by Evans Blue dye extravasation, silver and Fluoro-Jade B staining, and glial fibrillary acidic protein immunohistochemistry, respectively. Behavioral and pathological changes were injury severity-dependent. This mouse bTBI model may be useful for investigating injury mechanisms and therapeutic strategies associated with bTBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-196
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • Behavioral assessments
  • Blast injury
  • Edema
  • Neuronal degeneration
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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  • Cite this

    Wang, H., Zhang, Y. P., Cai, J., Shields, L. B. E., Tuchek, C. A., Shi, R., Li, J., Shields, C. B., & Xu, X. M. (2016). A compact blast-induced traumatic brain injury model in mice. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, 75(2), 183-196. https://doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nlv019