A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as a blow to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. ​The severity of such an injury may range from mild (a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to severe (an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.​ At PsychoGenics, we are at the forefront of preclinical traumatic brain injury (TBI) studies, utilizing rodent injury models to accelerate the development of effective therapies for this silent epidemic. 

Preclinical TBI Model Expertise 

PsychoGenics employs the Controlled Cortical Impact Injury (CCI) model to simulate and evaluate the complexities of traumatic brain injury. CCI stands as a precise and meticulously controlled method for inducing traumatic brain injuries, characterized by its controlled displacement, speed, and dwell time. This advanced technique generates a “focal” injury directly through a craniotomy, leading to an immediate hemorrhagic response. Such focal injuries are pivotal in the study of traumatic brain injuries as they allow for the anatomical targeting of the lesion, enabling researchers to investigate the effects on specific areas such as the CA3 region of the hippocampus or the sensorimotor cortex. This model can be used to evaluate novel therapies.

Comprehensive Behavioral Testing and Pathology Endpoints for Preclinical TBI Studies 

We conduct a broad spectrum of behavioral tests in the CCI model to evaluate the efficacy of your therapy. These tests can help evaluate the efficacy of your treatment on motor and cognitive function. 

Before injury, animals undergo acclimation and training to navigate a narrow, suspended beam, quickly mastering the skill to balance for each 60-second trial. However, after a Controlled Cortical Impact (CCI), these animals demonstrate reduced balance times, showing a tendency to slip or fall off the beam within the first week post-injury, highlighting the impact of CCI on motor coordination and balance skills.

The Cylinder Test allows the quantification of the limb-use asymmetry during wall exploration.(Schallert et al., 2000; Schallert and Tillerson, 2000). 

Rats are placed in a transparent cylinder and videotaped for 5 minutes to evaluate limb use. Forepaw contacts are counted under red light conditions, providing a detailed assessment of motor skill recovery or impairment.

Cognitive deficits in CCI rats appear 2-3 weeks post-injury. ​Morris Water Maze (MWM) assesses special memory. Animals navigate the MWM by using visual cues in the room to remember the location of an escape platform that is hidden beneath the opaque pool water.

CCI animals take longer to reach the platform and swim longer distances compared to sham animals.​ No differences in the swim speed is observed between sham and CCI rats.

Probe Trial in the Morris Water Maze

Sham rats consistently navigate towards the target quadrant, showing a strong memory for the escape platform’s location. In contrast, CCI rats display no preference for any quadrant, indicating a significant impairment in spatial memory post-injury. This comparison underlines the profound effects of CCI on cognitive function.

Sham rats spend more time in target quadrant compared to CCI rats. CCI rats show no discrimination between the various quadrants.

Preclinical Testing for TBI Therapeutic Efficacy 

Thorough preclinical testing is essential to assess the efficacy of your TBI treatment. Through rigorous evaluation and validation, PsychoGenics provides a solid foundation of preclinical evidence, giving your clinical candidate its best odds of success. 

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