The pathobiology of blast injuries and blast-induced neurotrauma as identified using a new experimental model of injury in mice

Abstract Current experimental models of blast injuries used to study blast-induced neurotrauma (BINT) vary widely, which makes the comparison of the experimental results extremely challenging. Most of the blast injury models replicate the ideal Friedländer type of blast wave, without the capability to generate blast signatures with multiple shock fronts and refraction waves as seen in real-life conditions; this significantly reduces their clinical and military relevance. Here, we describe the pathophysiological consequences of graded blast injuries and BINT generated by a newly developed, highly controlled, and reproducible model using a modular, multi-chamber shock tube capable of tailoring pressure wave signatures and reproducing complex shock wave signatures seen in theater. While functional deficits due to blast exposure represent the principal health problem for today’s warfighters, the majority of available blast models induces tissue destruction rather than mimic functional deficits. Thus, the main goal of our model is to reliably reproduce long-term neurological impairments caused by blast. Physiological parameters, functional (motor, cognitive, and behavioral) outcomes, and underlying molecular mechanisms involved in inflammation measured in the brain over the 30 day post-blast period showed this model is capable of reproducing major neurological changes of clinical BINT.