Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type





Anatomy and Neurobiology

First Advisor

Dr. Edward D. Hall


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) is cytotoxic to the cell and is known to contribute to secondary cell death following primary traumatic brain injury (TBI). We described in our study that PN is the main mediator for both lipid peroxidation and protein nitration, and occurred almost immediately after injury. As a downstream factor to oxidative damage, the peak of Ca2+-dependent, calpainmediated cytoskeletal proteolysis preceded that of neurodegeneration, suggesting that calpain-mediated proteolysis is the common pathway leading to neuronal cell death. The time course study clearly elucidated the interrelationship of these cellular changes following TBI, provided window of opportunity for pharmacological intervention.

Furthermore, we conducted a pharmacological study to solidify our hypothesis. First of all, we tested the potency of a membrane permeable, catalytic scavenger of PN-derived free radicals, tempol for its ability to antagonize PN-induced oxidative damage. Tempol successfully inhibited PNinduced protein nitration at dosages of 30, 100 and 300mg/kg. Moreover, early single dose of 300mg/kg was administered and isolated mitochondria were examined for respiratory function and oxidative damage level. Our data showed that tempol reduced mitochondrial oxidative damage, and maintained mitochondrial function within normal limits, which suggested that tempol is efficiently permeable to mitochondrial membrane and mitochondrial oxidative damage is essential to mitochondrial dysfunction. Next, we found that calpainmediated proteolysis is reduced at early treatment with a single dose of tempol. However, the effect of tempol on calpain is short-lived possibly due to systematic elimination. In our multiple dose study, tempol showed a significant inhibitory effect on SBDPs. Consequently, we measured neuordegeneration with the de Olmos aminocupric silver staining method at 7 days post-injury and detected a significant decrease of neuronal cell death.

Together, the time course study and pharmacological study strongly support the hypothesis that PN is the upstream mediator in secondary cell death in the CCI TBI mouse model. Moreover, inhibition of PN-mediated oxidative damage with the antioxidant, tempol, is able to attenuate multiple downstream injury mechanisms. However, targeting PN alone may be clinically impractical due to its limited therapeutic window. This limitation may be overcome in future studies by a combination of multiple therapeutic strategies.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.