Investigating effects of neuroprotective agents in an animal model of concussion

Ended on 1/06/17
Campaign Ended
  • $239
  • 6%
  • Finished
    on 1/06/17

About This Project

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive, neurodegenerative condition resulting from exposure to repetitive head impacts (concussions). It is not fully understood how the condition results in accelerated aging of the brain, and therapy development is only beginning. This project will examine the effects of five neuroprotective compounds on clinical, cellular, and molecular health in rats that have artificially induced CTE, to investigate disease mechanisms and treatments.

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What is the context of this research?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 3.8 million concussions occur each year in the United States. A significant link has been identified between concussion injuries and CTE in the aging brain. CTE patients display dementia-like mood, cognitive, behavior and memory dysfunction, and are at significantly higher risk for developing other severe neurodegenerative conditions. At present there are no pharmacological or non-pharmacological treatments for CTE. This investigation will build on the understanding of neurological damage following concussion, how it affects the brain in aging, and how protective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents may be used to combat the underlying mechanisms.

What is the significance of this project?

This study will look at the behavior of genes and biomarkers in response to the administration of the chosen agents. It is hypothesized that interventions will promote favorable outcomes in antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective capacity of the brain.

This study will also aid in characterizing the behavior of important cellular and molecular markers to provide understanding of the underlying etiology. This project will assist clinicians in the diagnosis and treatment of patients where exposure to repetitive traumatic brain injury has occurred or is a frequent possibility (military personnel and contact sport participants). Individuals at risk of these injuries show significantly poorer outcomes in brain health as they age.

What are the goals of the project?

The project will compare the effects of intake and timing of intake of three anti-inflammatory supplements, one anti-inflammatory drug, and one antibiotic drug on concussion exposure. These have been chosen for their demonstrated protective role in other diseases of inflammation and oxidative stress. The study will commence in early 2017. Animals be divided into treatment groups with a control group, and will take the drug/supplement orally, as in humans. Animals will take the compound before and during a week of head injury administration designed to replicate the forces sustained by football athletes. Behavior will be assessed, and genetic, biochemical, and electron microscope analysis will be conducted on hippocampus and cortex tissue following the completion of all injury protocols.


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Five neuroprotective compounds will be tested as part of the experimental design. Consumables will include reagents, tubes, flasks and other materials that are required as part of the genetic and molecular analysis procedures. My advisory team will cover the costs of lab space, laboratory animals, equipment, and their time and expertise. My time is funded by a scholarship through SARRAH, an agency supported by the Australian government.

Endorsed by

I am excited about this project and I know Matt is just the researcher to tackle this question. Matt already has an excellent background in this field and, in addition, he is constantly upskilling himself so that he can be the best, most useful researcher possible. Matt asks all the right questions, is eager to get his handy dirty, and does not take shortcuts. I have no doubt that this project is just the beginning of a long, fruitful research career for Matt.

Meet the Team

Matthew Hiskens
Matthew Hiskens

Team Bio

My advisory team consists of:

- Dr Andrew Fenning - Senior Lecturer, Medical Science and Pharmacology, Central Queensland University

- Dr Patrick Tucker - Lecturer, Medical and Applied Science, Central Queensland University

Matthew Hiskens

I graduated with honors from Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelor of Health Science.

My clinical background is in Dietetics and as a Sports Dietitian.

I am a Ph.D Candidate at Central Queensland University in the school of Medical and Applied Science.

Lab Notes

Nothing posted yet.

Additional Information

The forces involved in concussion are to be replicated in a rodent model, as has been done by other labs undertaking CTE research. The study will be conducted with approval from the Central Queensland University Animal Ethics Committee according to the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes. Briefly, the rat is lightly anesthetized and positioned on a platform so that the head and body of the animal are free to move after impact. A calibrated weight at a velocity scaled for human impacts is directed at a specific point on the animals head. Upon impact, the animals head moves with the rotational acceleration that produces the shearing strain on the tissues of the brain. These strains are known to cause the acute inflammatory response in the brain that leads to the chronic neurodegenerative response.

Project Backers

  • 4Backers
  • 6%Funded
  • $239Total Donations
  • $59.75Average Donation
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