Rat is the most commonly used animal model for the study of traumatic brain injury. Recent advances in imaging and computational modeling technology offer the promise of biomechanical models capable of resolving individual brain structures and offering greater insight into the causes and consequences of brain injury. However, there is insufficient data on the mechanical properties of brain structures available to populate these models. In this study, we used microindentation to determine viscoelastic properties of different anatomical structures in sagittal slices of juvenile and adult rat brain. We find that the rat brain is spatially heterogeneous in this anatomical plane supporting previous results in the coronal plane. In addition, the brain becomes stiffer and more heterogeneous as the animal matures. This dynamic, region-specific data will support the development of more biofidelic computational models of brain injury biomechanics and the testing of hypotheses about the manner in which different anatomical structures are injured in a head impact.
Keywords: Neurotrauma; Indentation; Relaxation function; Biomechanics; Injury