Document Type


Version Deposited

Accepted for publication (PostPrint)

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Neurotrauma




Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) is a primary inflammatory mediator that converts arachidonic acid into precursors of vasoactive prostaglandins, producing reactive oxygen species in the process. Under normal conditions COX2 is not detectable, except at low abundance in the brain. This study demonstrates a distinctive pattern of COX2 increases in the brain over time following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Quantitative lysate ribonuclease protection assays indicate acute and sustained increases in COX2 mRNA in two rat models of TBI. In the lateral fluid percussion model, COX2 mRNA is significantly elevated (>twofold, p < 0.05, Dunnett) at 1 day postinjury in the injured cortex and bilaterally in the hippocampus, compared to sham-injured controls. In the lateral cortical impact model (LCI), COX2 mRNA peaks around 6 h postinjury in the ipsilateral cerebral cortex (fivefold induction, p < 0.05, Dunnett) and in the ipsilateral and contralateral hippocampus (two- and six-fold induction, respectively, p < 0.05, Dunnett). Increases are sustained out to 3 days postinjury in the injured cortex in both models. Further analyses use the LCI model to evaluate COX2 induction. Immunoblot analyses confirm increased levels of COX2 protein in the cortex and hippocampus. Profound increases in COX2 protein are observed in the cortex at 1-3 days, that return to sham levels by 7 days postinjury (p < 0.05, Dunnett). The cellular pattern of COX2 induction following TBI has been characterized using immunohistochemistry. COX2-immunoreactivity (-ir) rises acutely (cell numbers and intensity) and remains elevated for several days following TBI. Increases in COX2-ir colocalize with neurons (MAP2-ir) and glia (GFAP-ir). Increases in COX2-ir are observed in cerebral cortex and hippocampus, ipsilateral and contralateral to injury as early as 2 h postinjury. Neurons in the ipsilateral parietal, perirhinal and piriform cortex become intensely COX2-ir from 2 h to at least 3 days postinjury. In agreement with the mRNA and immunoblot results, COX2-ir appears greatest in the contralateral hippocampus. Hippocampal COX2-ir progresses from the pyramidal cell layer of the CA1 and CA2 region at 2 h, to the CA3 pyramidal cells and dentate polymorphic and granule cell layers by 24 h postinjury. These increases are distinct from those observed following inflammatory challenge, and correspond to brain areas previously identified with the neurological and cognitive deficits associated with TBI. While COX2 induction following TBI may result in selective beneficial responses, chronic COX2 production may contribute to free radical mediated cellular damage, vascular dysfunction, and alterations in cellular metabolism. These may cause secondary injuries to the brain that promote neuropathology and worsen behavioral outcome.


Final publication is available from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Published Citation

Strauss KI, Barbe MF, Marshall RM, Raghupathi R, Mehta S, Narayan RK. Prolonged cyclooxygenase-2 induction in neurons and glia following traumatic brain injury in the rat. Journal of Neurotrauma. 2000 Aug;17(8):695-711. doi: 10.1089/089771500415436. PMID: 10972245. PMCID: PMC1456323.