The Effect of Underwater Blast on Aggregating Brain Cell Cultures


  1. Sawyer, T.W.
  2. Lee, J.J.
  3. Villanueva, M.
  4. Wang, Y.
  5. Nelson, P.
  6. Song, Y.
  7. Fan, C.
  8. Barnes, J.
  9. McLaws, L.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Suffield Research Centre, Ralston AB (CAN)
Although the deleterious effects of primary blast on gas-filled organs are well accepted, the effect of blast-induced shock waves on the brain is less clear because of factors that complicate the interpretation of clinical and experimental data. Brain cell aggregate cultures are comprised of multiple differentiated brain cell types and were used to examine the effects of underwater blast. Suspensions of these cultures encased in dialysis tubing were exposed to explosive-generated underwater blasts of low (~300 kPa), medium (~2,700 kPa), or high (~14,000 kPa) intensities and harvested at 1–28 days post-exposure. No changes in gross morphology were noted immediately or weeks after blast wave exposure, and no increases in either apoptotic (caspase-3) or necrotic (lactate dehydrogenase) cell death were observed. Changes in neuronal (neurofilament H, acetylcholinesterase, and choline acetyltransferase) and glial (glial fibrillary acidic protein, glutamine synthetase) endpoints did not occur. However, significant time- and pressure-related increases in Akt (protein kinase B) phosphorylation were noted, as well as declines in vascular endothelial growth factor levels, implicating pathways involved in cellular survival mechanisms. The free-floating nature of the aggregates during blast wave exposure, coupled with their highly hydrolyzed dialysis tubing containment, results in minimized boundary effects, thus enabling accurate assessment of brain cell response to a simplified shock-
blast-induced brain injury;Akt;primary blast;underwater blast;vascular epidermal growth factor
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2016-P091 — External Literature
Date of publication
20 Oct 2016
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

Permanent link

Document 1 of 1

Date modified: