Characterization of astrocytic response after experiencing cavitation in vitro

Authors: Alex H. Wrede, Marilyn C. McNamara, Rodger Baldwin, Jie Luo, Reza Montazami, Anumantha Kanthasamy, Nicole N. Hashemi


When a traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs, low‐pressure regions inside the skull can cause vapor contents in the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) to expand and collapse, a phenomenon known as cavitation. When these microbubbles (MBs) collapse, shock waves are radiated outward and are known to damage surrounding materials in other applications, like the steel foundation of boat propellers, so it is alarming to realize the damage that cavitation inflicts on vulnerable brain tissue. Using cell‐laden microfibers, the longitudinal morphological response that mouse astrocytes have to surrounding cavitation in vitro is visually analyzed. Astrocytic damage is evident immediately after cavitation when compared to a control sample, as their processes retract. Forty‐eight hours later, the astrocytes appeared to spread across the fibers, as normal. This study also analyzes the gene expression changes that occur post‐cavitation via quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) methods. After cavitation a number of pro‐inflammatory genes are upregulated, including TNFα, IL‐1β, C1q, Serping1, NOS1, IL‐6, and JMJD3. Taken together, these results confirm that surrounding cavitation is detrimental to astrocytic function, and yield opportunities to further the understanding of how protective headgear can minimize or eliminate the occurrence of cavitation.

Source: Global Challenges, 2020; 4 (7): 1900014