Inhibition of neocortical plasticity during development by a moderate concussive brain injury

J Neurotrauma. 2000 Sep;17(9):739-49. doi: 10.1089/neu.2000.17.739.


To determine if a moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) sustained early in life alters the capacity for developmental plasticity, 17-20-day-old rat pups received a lateral fluid percussion and then reared in an enriched environment for 17 days. Compared to sham-injured controls, this moderate TBI prevented the increase in cortical thickness (1.48 vs. 1.68 mm, p < 0.01) as well as the corresponding enhancement in cognitive performance in the Morris Water Maze (39 vs. 25 trials to criterion, p < 0.05). These injured animals exhibited no significant neuronal degeneration and no evidence of neurologic or motor deficits. These findings strongly support the conclusion that a diffuse brain injury is capable of inhibiting both anatomical and cognitive manifestations of experience-dependent developmental plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Concussion / pathology
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development*
  • Cerebral Cortex / injuries*
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Cognition
  • Environment
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Motor Activity
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley