The effects of hypertonic saline and nicotinamide on sensorimotor and cognitive function following cortical contusion injury in the rat

Andrea Quigley, Arlene A. Tan, Michael R. Hoane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Hypertonic saline (HTS) is an accepted treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, the behavioral and cognitive consequences following HTS administration have not thoroughly been examined. Recent preclinical evidence has suggested that nicotinamide (NAM) is beneficial for recovery of function following TBI. The current study compared the behavioral and cognitive consequences of HTS and NAM as competitive therapeutic agents for the treatment of TBI. Following controlled cortical impact (CCI), bolus administrations of NAM (500 mg/kg), 7.5% HTS, or 0.9% saline Vehicle (1.0 mL/kg) were given at 2, 24, and 48 h post-CCI. Behavioral results revealed that animals treated with NAM and HTS showed significant improvements in beam walk and locomotor placing compared to the Vehicle group. The Morris water maze (MWM) retrograde amnesia test was conducted on day 12 post-CCI and showed that all groups had significant retention of memory compared to injured, Vehicle-treated animals. Working memory was also assessed on days 8-20 using the MWM. The NAM and Vehicle groups quickly acquired the task; however, HTS animals showed no acquisition of this task. Histological examinations revealed that the HTS-treated animals lost significantly more cortical tissue than either the NAM or Vehicle-treated animals. HTS-treated animals showed a greater loss of hippocampal tissue compared to the other groups. In general, NAM showed a faster rate of recovery than HTS without this associated tissue loss. The results of this study reiterate the strengths of NAM following injury and show concerns with bolus administrations of HTS due to the differential effects on cognitive performance and apparent tissue loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-148
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusPublished - Dec 4 2009
Externally publishedYes



  • Controlled cortical impact
  • Hippocampus
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Retrograde amnesia
  • Therapy
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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