Chronic failure in the maintenance of long-term potentiation following fluid percussion injury in the rat

Matthew J. Sanders, Thomas J. Sick, Miguel A. Perez-Pinzon, W. Dalton Dietrich, Edward J. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can produce chronic cognitive learning/memory deficits that are thought to be mediated, in part, by impaired hippocampal function. Experimentally induced TBI is associated with deficits in hippocampal synaptic plasticity (long-term potentiation, or LTP) at acute post-injury intervals but plasticity has not been examined at long- term survival periods. The present study was conducted to assess the temporal profile of LTP after injury and to evaluate the effects of injury severity on plasticity. Separate groups of rats were subjected to mild (1.1-1.4 atm), moderate (1.8-2.1 atm), or severe (2.2-2.7 atm) fluid percussion (FP) injury (or sham surgery) and processed for hippocampal electrophysiology in the first or eighth week after injury. LTP was defined as a lasting increase in field excitatory post-synaptic potential (fEPSP) slope in area CA1 following tetanic stimulation of the Schaffer collaterals. The fEPSP slope was measured for 60 min after tetanus. Assessment of LTP at the acute interval (6 days) revealed modest peak slope potentiation values (129-139%), which declined in each group (including sham) over the hour-long recording session and did not differ between groups. Eight weeks following injury, slices from all groups exhibited robust maximal potentiation (134-147%). Levels of potentiation among groups were similar at the 5-min test interval but differed significantly at the 30- and 60-min test intervals. Whereas sham slices showed stable potentiation for the entire 60-min assessment period, slices in all of the injury groups exhibited a significant decline in potentiation over this period. These experiments reveal a previously unknown effect of TBI whereby experimentally induced injury results in a chronic inability of the CA1 hippocampus to maintain synaptic plasticity. They also provide evidence that sham surgical procedures can significantly influence hippocampal physiology at the acute post-TBI intervals. The results have implications for the mechanisms underlying the impaired synaptic plasticity following TBI. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-76
Number of pages8
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 7 2000


  • Brain injury
  • Fluid percussion
  • Hippocampus
  • LTP
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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