Traumatic brain injury using mouse models

Transl Stroke Res. 2014 Aug;5(4):454-71. doi: 10.1007/s12975-014-0327-0. Epub 2014 Feb 5.


The use of mouse models in traumatic brain injury (TBI) has several advantages compared to other animal models including low cost of breeding, easy maintenance, and innovative technology to create genetically modified strains. Studies using knockout and transgenic mice demonstrating functional gain or loss of molecules provide insight into basic mechanisms of TBI. Mouse models provide powerful tools to screen for putative therapeutic targets in TBI. This article reviews currently available mouse models that replicate several clinical features of TBI such as closed head injuries (CHI), penetrating head injuries, and a combination of both. CHI may be caused by direct trauma creating cerebral concussion or contusion. Sudden acceleration-deceleration injuries of the head without direct trauma may also cause intracranial injury by the transmission of shock waves to the brain. Recapitulation of temporary cavities that are induced by high-velocity penetrating objects in the mouse brain are difficult to produce, but slow brain penetration injuries in mice are reviewed. Synergistic damaging effects on the brain following systemic complications are also described. Advantages and disadvantages of CHI mouse models induced by weight drop, fluid percussion, and controlled cortical impact injuries are compared. Differences in the anatomy, biomechanics, and behavioral evaluations between mice and humans are discussed. Although the use of mouse models for TBI research is promising, further development of these techniques is warranted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Mice*
  • Mice, Transgenic