Under Pressure: Novel Technology to Model Pressure-Induced Cellular Injuries in The Brain


Source: Medical University of South Carolina

Summary: Researchers have developed a new ex vivo model of ICP-induced cellular injury that could help shed light on those mechanisms and open a door for novel therapeutics.


Brain injury can happen to anyone, anytime and anywhere. Many patients from newborns to the elderly are forced to grapple with the devastation of brain injury. The byproduct of a rigid skull is the elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) and is the primary cause of initial injury. This increased ICP, in turn, causes cellular injuries in the brain and additional neurological deficits associated with initial injury. A little is known about the mechanisms of secondary cellular injuries caused by the persistent elevation of ICP. Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina have developed a new ex vivo model of ICP-induced cellular injury that could help shed light on those mechanisms and open a door for novel therapeutics. The findings were reported in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods.

A novel technology to model pressure-induced cellular injuries in the brain

A novel technology to model pressure-induced cellular injuries in the brain. Credit: Reprinted from Journal of Neuroscience Methods, Smith, Michael and Eskandari, Ramin.  With permission from Elsevier.

The system is devised by Smith and Ramin Eskandari, is composed of separate acrylic chambers inside a cell culture incubator under a regulated and adjustable pressure. This ex vivo system has the ability to expose a 3D matrix of brain cells to extended periods of sustained as well as pulsatile pressure conditions. To experimentally test this system, neurons embedded in 3D hydrogels were subjected to a pressure of 22 mm Hg for various periods of time (hours to days). The release of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) signals cellular stress and susceptibility to damage, was measured as was the viability of the various cells once they were removed from pressure. The model developed could prove useful to shed light on mechanisms relevant to brain tumors, stroke, subdural hematoma and traumatic brain injury.

Ramin Eskandari said, “The ability to stop the deleterious downstream effects of brain injury diseases will allow clinicians to alter the recovery process in some of the most devastating diseases from which humans suffer”, “Developing that ability starts with a model system that is reliable and reproducible and can be easily altered to study many different diseases. We feel that we have created such a model and are excited to be finally demonstrating our results.”


More Information: Michael E. Smith et al, “A novel technology to model pressure-induced cellular injuries in the brain”, Journal of Neuroscience Methods (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2017.10.004


 

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