Date of Award

5-1-2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Hoane, Michael

Abstract

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States for which there are no federally approved pharmacological treatments. Preclinical trials with nicotinamide (NAM) and progesterone (Prog) treatment demonstrate beneficial neuroprotection and recovery of function following TBI. The primary goal of this study was to assess both neuroprotection and recovery of function in an animal model of TBI after combination treatment of both NAM and Prog. Animals received a cortical contusion injury over the sensorimotor cortex and were treated with either nicotinamide (75 mg/kg, i.p. NAM loading dose, 12 mg/kg/hr NAM, s.c. over 72 hrs), Prog (10 mg/kg Prog, i.p. over 72 hrs), NAM and Prog(75 mg/kg, i.p. NAM loading dose, followed by continuous infusion of 12 mg/kg/hr NAM, s.c. over 72 hrs; 10 mg/kg Prog, i.p. over 72 hrs) or Vehicle (75 mg/kg, i.p. sterile saline loading dose, followed by continuous infusion 12 mg/kg/hr sterile saline, s.c. over 72 hrs; 10 mg/kg peanut oil, i.p. over 72 hrs), and compared to a craniotomy only (Sham) group. Following this regimen they were assessed in a battery of behavioral (fine and gross motor, sensory, and cognitive) tasks or a histological assessment at 24 hrs post-injury assessing lesion cavity size, degenerating neurons, and reactive astrocytes. Our results replicate the beneficial effects of treatment with either NAM or Prog demonstrating significant improvements in recovery of function, and a reduction in lesion cavitation, degenerating neurons and reactive astrocytes 24 hours post-injury. The combination treatment of NAM and Prog led to a significant improvement in both neuroprotection at 24 hrs post-injury and recovery of function in sensorimotor related tasks when compared to each individual treatment (NAM or Prog). It is suggested here that further preclinical trials using NAM and Prog as a combination treatment should be done to identify any drug interactions, pharmacokinetics, and a new window of opportunity and proper dosing of this combination treatment.

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