Blast-induced temporal alterations in blood–brain barrier properties in a rodent model

Usmah Kawoos*, Rania Abutarboush, Ming Gu, Ye Chen, Jonathan K. Statz, Samantha Y. Goodrich, Stephen T. Ahlers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The consequences of blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI) on the blood–brain barrier (BBB) and components of the neurovascular unit are an area of active research. In this study we assessed the time course of BBB integrity in anesthetized rats exposed to a single blast overpressure of 130 kPa (18.9 PSI). BBB permeability was measured in vivo via intravital microscopy by imaging extravasation of fluorescently labeled tracers (40 kDa and 70 kDa molecular weight) through the pial microvasculature into brain parenchyma at 2–3 h, 1, 3, 14, or 28 days after the blast exposure. BBB structural changes were assessed by immunostaining and molecular assays. At 2–3 h and 1 day after blast exposure, significant increases in the extravasation of the 40 kDa but not the 70 kDa tracers were observed, along with differential reductions in the expression of tight junction proteins (occludin, claudin-5, zona occluden-1) and increase in the levels of the astrocytic water channel protein, AQP-4, and matrix metalloprotease, MMP-9. Nearly all of these measures were normalized by day 3 and maintained up to 28 days post exposure. These data demonstrate that blast-induced changes in BBB permeability are closely coupled to structural and functional components of the BBB.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5906
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


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