Acute Dilation of Venous Sinuses in Animal Models of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Detected Using 9.4T MRI

Qandeel Shafqat, Jennaya Christensen, A. Max Hamilton, Elizabeth Imhof, Richelle M. Mychasiuk, Jeff F. Dunn

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Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a debilitating but extremely common form of brain injury that affects a substantial number of people each year. mTBI is especially common in children and adolescents. Our understanding of mTBI pathophysiology is limited, and there is currently no accepted marker for disease severity. A potential marker for disease severity may be cerebrovascular dysfunction. Recent findings have implicated cerebrovascular alteration as an important component of mTBI and suggest it contributes to the development of persistent, long-term symptoms. In this paper, we conducted two studies to investigate whether mTBI affects venous drainage patterns in the central nervous system using alterations in the size of venous sinuses as a marker of changes in drainage. Using a closed head vertical weight-drop model and a lateral impact injury model of mTBI, we imaged and quantified the size of three major draining vessels in the adolescent rat brain using 9.4T MRI. Areas and volumes were quantified in the superior sagittal sinus and left and right transverse sinuses using images acquired from T2w MRI in one study and post-gadolinium T1w MRI in another. Our results indicated that the three venous sinuses were significantly larger in mTBI rats as compared to sham rats 1-day post injury but recovered to normal size 2 weeks after. Acutely enlarged sinuses post-mTBI may indicate abnormal venous drainage, and this could be suggestive of a cerebrovascular response to trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number307
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2020


  • animal model
  • concussion
  • mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)
  • MRI-magnetic resonance imaging
  • sinus dilation
  • superior sagittal sinus (SSS)
  • transverse sinuses (TS)
  • venous drainage

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