Primary Blast Exposure Increases Hippocampal Vulnerability to Subsequent Exposure: Reducing Long-Term Potentiation.
Up to 80% of injuries sustained by U.S. soldiers in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom were the result of blast exposure from improvised explosive devices. Some soldiers experience multiple blasts while on duty, and it has been suggested that symptoms of repetitive blast are similar to those that follow multiple non-blast concussions, such as sport-related concussion. Despite the interest in the effects of repetitive blast exposure, it remains unknown whether an initial blast renders the brain more vulnerable to subsequent exposure, resulting in a synergistic injury response. To investigate the effect of multiple primary blasts on the brain, organotypic hippocampal slice cultures were exposed to single or repetitive (two or three total) primary blasts of varying intensities. Long-term potentiation was significantly reduced following two Level 2 (92.7 kPa, 1.4 msec, 38.5 kPa·msec) blasts delivered 24 h apart without altering basal evoked response. This deficit persisted when the interval between injuries was increased to 72 h but not when the interval was extended to 144 h. The repeated blast exposure with a 24 h interval increased microglia staining and activation significantly but did not significantly increase cell death or damage axons, dendrites, or principal cell layers. Lack of overt structural damage and change in basal stimulated neuron response suggest that injury from repetitive primary blast exposure may specifically affect long-term potentiation. Our studies suggest repetitive primary blasts can exacerbate injury dependent on the injury severity and interval between exposures.
Effgen, GB; Ong, T; Nammalwar, S; Ortuño, AI; Meaney, DF; 'Dale' Bass, CR; Morrison, B
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