Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is increasingly recognized as a significant public health problem which warrants additional research. Part of the effort to understand mTBI and concussion includes modeling in animals. Controlled cortical impact (CCI) is a commonly employed and well-characterized model of experimental TBI that has been utilized for three decades. Today, several commercially available pneumatic- and electromagnetic-CCI devices exist as do a variety of standard and custom injury induction tips. One of CCI’s strengths is that it can be scaled to a number of common laboratory animals. Similarly, the CCI model can be used to produce graded TBI ranging from mild to severe. At the mild end of the injury spectrum, CCI has been applied in many ways, including to study open and closed head mTBI, repeated injuries, and the long-term deficits associated with mTBI and concussion. The purpose of this mini-review is to introduce the CCI model, discuss ways the model can be applied to study mTBI and concussion, and compare CCI to alternative pre-clinical TBI models.
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