Oxidative stress is known to play an important role in the response of brain to traumatic insults. We tested the hypothesis that increased extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD) expression can reduce injury in a mouse model of closed head injury. Neurologic, cognitive, and histologic outcomes were compared between transgenic mice exhibiting a fivefold increase in EC-SOD activity and wild-type littermate controls. Severe or moderate transcranial impact was induced in anesthetized and physiologically controlled animals. After severe impact, transgenic mice had better neurological outcome at 24 hr postinjury (p = 0.038). Brain water content was increased, but there was no difference between groups. Moderate impact resulted in predominantly mild neurologic deficits in both groups at both 24 hr and 14 days postinjury. Morris water maze performance, testing cognitive function at 14-17 days after trauma, was better in EC-SOD overexpressors (p = 0.018). No differences were observed between groups for histologic damage in hippocampal CA1 and CA3. We conclude that EC-SOD has a beneficial effect on behavioral outcome after both severe and moderate closed head injury in mice. Because EC-SOD is believed to be predominantly located in the extracellular space, these data implicate an adverse effect of extracellular superoxide anion on outcome from closed head injury.
- Extracellular superoxide dismutase