APAGBI Small Research Grant

The successful applicant for the APAGBI Small Research Grant was:

The effect of xenon-treatment on the developing brain following paediatric neurotrauma

Dr Robert Dickinson

Imperial College, London


Scientific Abstract
Paediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant healthcare problem throughout the world. Children represent a high‐risk group for TBI, in particular TBI related to participation in sports and other recreational activities. TBI can be classified into 'primary injury' resulting from the initial mechanical insult and the 'secondary injury' that rapidly develops due to activation of a number of biochemical pathways, including glutamate excitotoxicity and inflammation. The potentially preventable secondary injury underlies most of the subsequent neurological deficits experienced by TBI patients. The developing brain appears to be particularly sensitive to trauma, with outcomes in children reported to be worse than those in adult TBI. The reasons behind this are not fully understood, but developing brains have different physiological, metabolic and biomechanical characteristics compared to the adult brain. Current treatment options for brain trauma are mainly supportive, and there are no clinically effective drugs that specifically target neuronal death caused by secondary injury. Xenon is an anaesthetic gas that has neuroprotective properties. We have recently shown that xenon protects against secondary injury in adult mice and rats. The current proposal aims to determine whether xenon treatment following paediatric TBI reduces secondary injury and improves functional outcome in adulthood.