Increased levels of intracellular iron in the brains of ApoE-deficient mice with closed head injury

L. Lomnitski, A. Nyska, E. Shohami, Y. Chen, Daniel M. Michaelson

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Previous studies have revealed that apolipoprotein E (apoE)-deficient mice have distinct memory deficits and neurochemical derangements and are oxidatively stressed prior to and following closed head injury. The objective of this study was to evaluate the possibility that the enhanced susceptibility of apoE-deficient mice to closed head injury is related to impairments in their antioxidative iron-chelating mechanisms. ApoE-deficient and control mice were subjected to closed had injury, after which the extent of brain-damage and the level of iron-containing cells were assessed. Examination of the brain-damaged areas in the injured mice revealed that, by Day 3 post injury, animals of both groups were maximally and similarly affected. While the size of the damaged area of the injured control mice diminished significantly by Day 7, however recovery was not observed in injured apoE-deficient mice up to at least 14 days post-injury. Histopathologically, the decrease in the damaged areas in the control mice was interpreted as related to decreased edema. Numbers of iron-containing cells at Days 3 and 7 after injury were greater in the brains of control mice than in the apoE-deficient mice. Whereas the number of iron-containing cells in injured control mice decreased at days 9 and 14-post injury, that of the injured apoE-deficient mice plateaued by Day 9 at a level more than two-fold higher than the maximal level seen for controls. The size of the damaged areas and the number of iron-containing cells were correlated (P < 0.03) for both mouse groups at days 9 and 14 after injury. The data suggest that the increased susceptibility of apoE-deficient mice to closed head injury may be due, at least in part, to impaired iron scavenging and sustained oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-183
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental and Toxicologic Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: Appreciation is expressed to Dr. R. R. MARONPOT, NIEHS, for advice and collaboration. The authors are grateful to Ms. JOANNE JOHNSON, Dr. G. FLAKE and Dr. G. J. HARRY, NIEHS, for their helpful comments. This work was supported in part by grants to DMM from the U. S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation (grant #95/16) and from the Israel Fund for Basic Research (grant #670/96).


  • Apolipoprotein E
  • Brain
  • Head injury
  • Intracellular
  • Intracellular iron
  • Iron
  • Oxidation-stress


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