Impact mechanics and axonal injury in a sheep model.
This paper describes a biomechanical study of axonal injury due to a blunt impact to the head. The aim of the experimental model was to produce axonal injury analogous to that seen in human trauma while measuring the dynamics of the impact and the subsequent kinematics of the head. These measurements were made in a way to facilitate the simulation of these experiments using the finite element method. Sheep were anaesthetised and ventilated, and subjected to a single impact to the lateral aspect of their skull. The impact force was measured throughout the duration of the impact and the kinematics of the head was measured using a novel implementation of a nine-accelerometer array. The axonal injury was identified using amyloid precursor protein (APP) as a marker, intensified using antigen retrieval techniques. Axonal injury was consistently produced in all animals. Commonly injured regions included the sub-cortical and deep white matter, and the periventricular white matter surrounding the lateral ventricles. The observed axonal injury was mapped and quantified on three coronal sections of each brain. The measure used to describe the injury severity correlated with the peak magnitude of the impact force and with peak values of kinematic parameters, particularly the peak change of linear and angular velocity.