Neurodegenerative Diversity in human cortical contusion: Histological analysis of tissue derived from decompressive craniectomy

David Riascos*, Efraín Buriticá, Eliecer Jiménez, Olagide Castro, Francisco Guzmán, Mauricio Palacios, Norberto Garcia-Cairasco, Changiz Geula, Martha Escobar, Hernán Pimienta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The principal aim in the management of patients with cerebral contusion (CC) following severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the prevention, amelioration, and treatment of secondary neuronal dysfunction and pathology. Distinguishing between irreversibly damaged and surviving tissue could have considerable therapeutic and prognostic implications for patients. To characterize structurally the neuronal compartment of the contused region in samples derived from patients who suffered severe TBI and were subjected to decompressive craniectomy, we used NeuN, a neuronal marker. We determined that NeuN "patches", sectors with loss of NeuN immunoreactivity (NeuN-IR), represented 25% of the area among the analyzed cases. We also found a 67% decrease in NeuN levels via Western blot. Tissue adjoining patches of NeuN-IR were considered "preserved" due to the apparent normal density of neurons and conservation of the six cortical layers. Nevertheless, these sectors retained only 39% of their neurons with the classical pattern described for normal NeuN-IR. Using Fluorojade we identified a 16-fold increase in density of moribund neurons in "preserved" sectors when compared to controls. Additionally these abnormalities were enhanced 5-fold in "patches" of NeuN-IR when compared to preserved regions. Therefore, NeuN/Fluorojade abnormalities are indicative of different cell fates characteristic of CC tissue. This analysis addressed exclusively the neuronal compartment and provides new insights into the degenerative state of neurons in the contused region that is likely to contribute to clinical outcome and differentiate TBI from ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-99
Number of pages14
JournalBrain research
StatePublished - Nov 6 2013


  • Cerebral contusion
  • Fluoro-Jade
  • Histologic correlation
  • NeuN
  • Neurodegeneration
  • TBI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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