Multi-modal approach for investigating brain and behavior changes in an animal model of traumatic brain injury

Meghan E. Heffernan, Wei Huang, Kenneth M. Sicard, Bernt T. Bratane, Elif M. Sikoglu, Nanyin Zhang, Marc Fisher, Jean A. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Use of novel approaches in imaging modalities is needed for enhancing diagnostic and therapeutic outcomes of persons with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study explored the feasibility of using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in conjunction with behavioral measures to target dynamic changes in specific neural circuitries in an animal model of TBI. Wistar rats were randomly assigned to one of two groups (traumatic brain injury/sham operation). TBI rats were subjected to the closed head injury (CHI) model. Any observable motor deficits and cognitive deficits associated with the injury were measured using beam walk and Morris water maze tests, respectively. fMRI was performed to assess the underlying post-traumatic cerebral anatomy and function in acute (24 hours after the injury) and chronic (7 and 21 days after the injury) phases. Beam walk test results detected no significant differences in motor deficits between groups. The Morris water maze test indicated that cognitive deficits persisted for the first week after injury and, to a large extent, resolved thereafter. Resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) analysis detected initially diminished connectivity between cortical areas involved in cognition for the TBI group; however, the connectivity patterns normalized at 1 week and remained so at the 3 weeks post-injury time point. Taken together, we have demonstrated an objective in vivo marker for mapping functional brain changes correlated with injury-associated cognitive behavior deficits and offer an animal model for testing potential therapeutic interventions options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1012
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology


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