An in Vitro Model of Traumatic Brain Injury
Authors:Greta Gadbois, Mitul Verma, Xin Zhang
Mentor:Elizabeth Orwin, Professor of Engineering, Harvey Mudd College
After traumatic brain injury (TBI), the inflammatory response causes secondary injury to the surrounding tissue, leading to significant tissue destruction beyond the initial tissue loss. Since astrocytes are the main composites of glial tissues responsible for wound healing, we used astrocyte cultures isolated from newborn rats as substrate for modeling both TBI and secondary injuries. In addition, we constructed an apparatus to simulate physical trauma via a scratch injury model. The apparatus is constructed from materials capable of withstanding high pressure and temperature conditions so that it can be sterilized by autoclaving. It is also specifically designed to ensure consistent scratching on all cell samples. Consistency tests were done by producing a single scratch on the monolayer of cultured cells in each of 12 sample wells. The width of injury and percentage area of wounding were measured under microscope. Width and area measurements were consistent between trials. Future work will include scratch tests on monolayer astrocyte cultures, which would include tests for consistency in both injury area and chemical responses. This model will eventually enable testing of possible treatment methods for TBI and secondary injuries.