Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of mortality and permanent disabilities worldwide. Brain edema following TBI remains to be the predominant cause of mortality and disability in patients worldwide. Previous studies have reported that brain edema is closely associated with aquaporin-4 (AQP4) expression. AQP4 is a water channel protein and mediates water homeostasis in a variety of brain disorders. In the current study, a rat TBI model was established, and the features of brain edema following TBI were assessed using multimodal MRI. The results of the multimodal MRI were useful, reliable and were used to evaluate the extent and the type of brain edema following TBI. Brain edema was also successfully alleviated using an intracerebral injection of AQP4 small interfering (si)RNA. The expression of AQP4 and its role in brain edema were also examined in the present study. The AQP4 siRNA was demonstrated to downregulate AQP4 expression following TBI and reduced brain edema at the early stages of TBI (6 and 12 h). The current study revealed the MRI features of brain edema and the changes in AQP4 expression exhibited following TBI, and the results provide important information that can be used to improve the early diagnosis and treatment of brain edema.Copyright: © Guan et al.
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