Use of traditional preclinical models of traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, such as rodent models, has yielded invaluable data for understanding mechanisms of injury and identifying potential therapeutics to improve functional outcomes in the clinical population. Recently, alternative models have been explored to both refine and expand this knowledge. This session will highlight use of some of these alternative models. For example, neuropathological analysis has yielded insight into the importance of tau-positive accumulation, using the woodpecker as model of repetitive head acceleration and deceleration. Similarly, porcine models serve as translational intermediary models of both traumatic brain and spinal cord injury for evaluation of functional indicators of sensory function and pain. The fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) has also evolved as an effective model for examining not only single cell function after brain injury, but also the importance of genetic variability in influencing the severity of secondary injury responses, such as tissue barrier function, energy homeostasis, and microtubule function. Use of such alternative models provides novel insight into injury mechanisms and methods to explore functional interventions, that might otherwise be prohibitive in conventional preclinical models.
At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to: