Traumatic brain injury (TBI) initiates a neuroinflammatory cascade that contributes to neuronal damage and behavioral impairment. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are signaling receptors in the innate immune system, although emerging evidence indicates their role in brain injury. We have therefore investigated the role played by TLR4 signaling pathway in the development of mechanisms of secondary inflammatory process in traumatic brain injury (TBI) differ in mice that lack a functional TLR4 signaling pathway.
Controlled cortical impact injury was performed on TLR4 knockout (KO) mice (C57BL/10ScNJ) and wild-type (WT) mice (C57BL/10ScNJ). TBI outcome was evaluated by determination of infarct volume and assessment of neurological scores. Brains were collected at 24 h after TBI. When compared to WT mice, TLR4 KO mice had lower infarct volumes and better outcomes in neurological and behavioral tests (evaluated by EBST and rotarod test). Mice that lacked TLR4 had minor expression of TBI-induced GFAP, Chymase, Tryptase, IL-1β, iNOS, PARP and Nitrotyrosine mediators implicated in brain damage. The translocation of expression of p-JNK, IκB-α and NF-κB pathway were also lower in brains from TLR4 KO mice. When compared to WT mice, resulted in significant augmentation of all the above described parameters. In addition, apoptosis levels in TLR4 KO mice had minor expression of Bax while on the contrary with Bcl-2.
Our results clearly demonstrated that absence of TLR4 reduces the development of neuroinflammation, tissues injury events associated with brain trauma and may play a neuroprotective role in TBI in mice.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) induces a complex sequence of apopototic cascades that contribute to secondary tissue damage. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of salidroside, a phenolic glycoside with potent anti-apoptotic properties, on behavioral and histological outcomes, brain edema, and apoptosis following experimental TBI and the possible involvement of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K)/Akt signaling pathway.
Mice subjected to controlled cortical impact injury received intraperitoneal salidroside (20, or 50 mg/kg) or vehicle injection 10 min after injury. Behavioral studies, histology analysis and brain water content assessment were performed. Levels of PI3K/Akt signaling-related molecules, apoptosis-related proteins, cytochrome C (CytoC), and Smac/DIABLO were also analyzed. LY294002, a PI3K inhibitor, was administered to examine the mechanism of protection. The protective effect of salidroside was also investigated in primary cultured neurons subjected to stretch injury. Treatment with 20 mg/kg salidroside_significantly improved functional recovery and reduced brain tissue damage up to post-injury day 28. Salidroside_also significantly reduced neuronal death, apoptosis, and brain edema at day 1. These changes were associated with significant decreases in cleaved caspase-3, CytoC, and Smac/DIABLO at days 1 and 3. Salidroside increased phosphorylation of Akt on Ser473 and the mitochondrial Bcl-2/Bax ratio at day 1, and enhanced phosphorylation of Akt on Thr308 at day 3. This beneficial effect was abolished by pre-injection of LY294002. Moreover, delayed administration of salidroside at 3 or 6 h post-injury reduced neuronal damage at day 1. Salidroside treatment also decreased neuronal vulnerability to stretch-induced injury in vitro.
Post-injury salidroside improved long-term behavioral and histological outcomes and reduced brain edema and apoptosis following TBI, at least partially via the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes acute inflammatory responses that result in an enduring cascade of secondary neuronal loss and behavioral impairments. It has been reported that progesterone (PROG) can inhibit the increase of some inflammatory cytokines and inflammation-related factors induced by TBI. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play a critical role in the induction and regulation of immune/inflammatory responses. Therefore, in the present study, we examined the genomic profiles of TLR-mediated pathways in traumatically injured brain and PROG's effects on these genes.
Bilateral cortical impact injury to the medial frontal cortex was induced in C57BL/6J mice. PROG was injected (i.p., 16 mg/kg body weight) at 1 and 6 h after surgery. Twenty-four hours post-surgery, mice were killed and peri-contusional brain tissue was harvested for genomic detection and protein measurement. RT-PCR arrays were used to measure the mRNA of 84 genes in TLR-mediated pathways. Western blot, ELISA and immunohistochemistry were used to confirm the protein expression of genes of interest.
We found that 2 TLRs (TLR1 and 2), 5 adaptor/interacting proteins (CD14, MD-1, HSPA1a, PGRP and Ticam2) and 13 target genes (Ccl2, Csf3, IL1a, IL1b, IL1r1, IL6, IL-10, TNFa, Tnfrsf1a, Cebpb, Clec4e, Ptgs2 and Cxcl10) were significantly up-regulated after injury. Administration of PROG significantly down-regulated three of the 13 increased target genes after TBI (Ccl-2, IL-1b and Cxcl-10), but did not inhibit the expression of any of the detected TLRs and adaptor/interacting proteins. Rather, PROG up-regulated the expression of one TLR (TLR9), 5 adaptor/interacting proteins, 5 effectors and 10 downstream target genes. We confirmed that Ccl-2, Cxcl-10, TLR2 and TLR9 proteins were expressed in brain tissue, a finding consistent with our observations of mRNA expression.
The results demonstrate that TBI can increase gene expression in TLR-mediated pathways. PROG does not down-regulate the increased TLRs or their adaptor proteins in traumatically injured brain. Reduction of the observed inflammatory cytokines by PROG does not appear to be the result of inhibiting TLRs or their adaptors in the acute stage of TBI.
Toll-like receptors; progesterone; traumatic brain injury; inflammation; mouse
Objective(s): Brain edema is one of the most serious causes of death within the first few days after trauma brain injury (TBI). In this study we have investigated the role of Shilajit on brain edema, blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability, intracranial pressure (ICP) and neurologic outcomes following brain trauma.
Materials and Methods: Diffuse traumatic brain trauma was induced in rats by drop of a 250 g weight from a 2 m high (Marmarou’s methods). Animals were randomly divided into 5 groups including sham, TBI, TBI-vehicle, TBI-Shi150 group and TBI-Shi250 group. Rats were undergone intraperitoneal injection of Shilajit and vehicle at 1, 24, 48 and 72 hr after trauma. Brain water content, BBB permeability, ICP and neurologic outcomes were finally measured.
Results: Brain water and Evans blue dye contents showed significant decrease in Shilajit-treated groups compared to the TBI-vehicle and TBI groups. Intracranial pressure at 24, 48 and 72 hr after trauma had significant reduction in Shilajit-treated groups as compared to TBI-vehicle and TBI groups (P<0.001). The rate of neurologic outcomes improvement at 4, 24, 48 and 72 hr after trauma showed significant increase in Shilajit-treated groups in comparison to theTBI- vehicle and TBI groups (P <0.001).
Conclusion: The present results indicated that Shilajit may cause in improvement of neurologic outcomes through decreasing brain edema, disrupting of BBB, and ICP after the TBI.
Brain edema; Intracranial pressure; Rat; Shilajit; Trauma
Significant effort has been focused on reducing neuronal damage from post-traumatic brain injury (TBI) inflammation and blood–brain barrier (BBB)-mediated edema. The orexigenic hormone ghrelin decreases inflammation in sepsis models, and has recently been shown to be neuroprotective following subarachnoid hemorrhage. We hypothesized that ghrelin modulates cerebral vascular permeability and mediates BBB breakdown following TBI. Using a weight-drop model, TBI was created in three groups of mice: sham, TBI, and TBI/ghrelin. The BBB was investigated by examining its permeability to FITC-dextran and through quantification of perivascualar aquaporin-4 (AQP-4). Finally, we immunoblotted for serum S100B as a marker of brain injury. Compared to sham, TBI caused significant histologic neuronal degeneration, increases in vascular permeability, perivascular expression of AQP-4, and serum levels of S100B. Treatment with ghrelin mitigated these effects; after TBI, ghrelin-treated mice had vascular permeability and perivascular AQP-4 and S100B levels that were similar to sham. Our data suggest that ghrelin prevents BBB disruption after TBI. This is evident by a decrease in vascular permeability that is linked to a decrease in AQP-4. This decrease in vascular permeability may diminish post-TBI brain tissue damage was evident by decreased S100B.
aquaporin-4; blood–brain barrier; ghrelin; traumatic brain injury
Sex influences histological and behavioral outcomes following traumatic brain injury (TBI), but the underlying sex-dependent pathomechanisms regulating outcome measures remain poorly defined. Here, we investigated the TBI-induced regulation of the X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) that, in addition to suppressing cell death by inhibition of caspases, is involved in signaling cascades, including immune regulation and cell migration. Since estrogen has been shown to have anti-apoptotic properties, we specifically examined sex differences and the influence of estrogen on XIAP processing after TBI. Sprague-Dawley male (TBI-M), female (TBI-F), ovariectomized female (TBI-OVX) and ovariectomized females supplemented with estrogen (TBI-OVX+EST) were subjected to moderate (1.7–2.2 atm) fluid percussion (FP) injury. Animals were sacrificed 24 hrs after FP injury; cortical tissue (ipsilateral and contralateral) was dissected and analyzed for XIAP processing by immunoblot analysis (n=6–7/group) or confocal microscopy (n=2–3/group). Significant differences in XIAP cleavage products in the ipsilateral cortex were found between groups (p<0.03). Post-hoc analysis showed an increase in XIAP processing in both TBI-F and TBI-OVX+EST compared to TBI-M and TBI-OVX (p<0.05), indicating that more XIAP is cleaved following injury in intact females and TBI-OVX+EST than in TBI-M and TBI-OVX groups. Co-localization of XIAP within neurons also demonstrated sex-dependent changes. Based on these data, it appears that the processing of XIAP after injury is different between males and females and may be influenced by exogenous estrogen treatment.
traumatic brain injury; X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis; sex differences
Intestinal barrier breakdown following traumatic brain injury (TBI) is characterized by increased intestinal permeability, leading to bacterial translocation, and inflammation. The hormone ghrelin may prevent intestinal injury and have anti-inflammatory properties. We hypothesized that exogenous ghrelin prevents intestinal injury following TBI. A weight-drop model created severe TBI in three groups of anesthetized Balb/c mice. Group TBI: animals underwent TBI only; Group TBI/ghrelin: animals were given 10 μg of ghrelin intraperitoneally prior and 1 h following TBI; Group sham: no TBI or ghrelin injection. Intestinal permeability was measured 6 h following TBI by detecting serum levels of FITC-Dextran after injection into the intact ileum. The terminal ileum was harvested for histology, expression of the tight junction protein MLCK and inflammatory cytokine TNF-α. Permeability increased in the TBI group compared to the sham group (109.7 ± 21.8 μg/mL vs. 32.2 ± 10.1 μg/mL; p < 0.002). Ghrelin prevented TBI-induced permeability (28.3 ± 4.2 μg/mL vs. 109.7 ± 21.8 μg/mL; p < 0.001). The intestines of the TBI group showed blunting and necrosis of villi compared to the sham group, while ghrelin injection preserved intestinal architecture. Intestinal MLCK increased 73% compared to the sham group (p < 0.03). Ghrelin prevented TBI-induced MLCK expression to sham levels. Intestinal TNF-α increased following TBI compared to the sham group (46.2 ± 7.1 pg/mL vs. 24.4 ± 2.2 pg/mL p < 0.001). Ghrelin reduced TNF-α to sham levels (29.2 ± 5.0 pg/mL; p = NS). We therefore conclude that ghrelin prevents TBI-induced injury, as determined by intestinal permeability, histology, and intestinal levels of TNF-α. The mechanism for ghrelin mediating intestinal protection is likely multifactorial, and further studies are needed to delineate these possibilities.
ghrelin; intestinal permeability; tight junctions; traumatic brain injury
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is formed by tightly connected cerebrovascular endothelial cells, but its normal function also depends on paracrine interactions between the brain endothelium and closely located glia. There is a growing consensus that brain injury, whether it is ischemic, hemorrhagic, or traumatic, leads to dysfunction of the BBB. Changes in BBB function observed after injury are thought to contribute to the loss of neural tissue and to affect the response to neuroprotective drugs. New discoveries suggest that considering the entire gliovascular unit, rather than the BBB alone, will expand our understanding of the cellular and molecular responses to traumatic brain injury (TBI). This review will address the BBB breakdown in TBI, the role of blood-borne factors in affecting the function of the gliovascular unit, changes in BBB permeability and post-traumatic edema formation, and the major pathophysiological factors associated with TBI that may contribute to post-traumatic dysfunction of the BBB. The key role of neuroinflammation and the possible effect of injury on transport mechanisms at the BBB will also be described. Finally, the potential role of the BBB as a target for therapeutic intervention through restoration of normal BBB function after injury and/or by harnessing the cerebrovascular endothelium to produce neurotrophic growth factors will be discussed.
Blood-brain barrier; Gliovascular unit; Traumatic brain injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) initiates a complex series of neurochemical and signaling changes that lead to pathological events including neuronal hyperactivity, excessive glutamate release, inflammation, increased blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability and cerebral edema, altered gene expression, and neuronal dysfunction. It is believed that a drug combination, or a single drug acting on multiple targets, may be an effective strategy to treat TBI. Valproate, a widely used antiepileptic drug, has a number of targets including GABA transaminase, voltage-gated sodium channels, glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3, and histone deacetylases (HDACs), and therefore may attenuate a number of TBI-associated pathologies.
Using a rodent model of TBI, we tested if post-injury administration of valproate can decrease BBB permeability, reduce neural damage and improve cognitive outcome. Dose-response studies revealed that systemic administration of 400 mg/kg (i.p.), but not 15, 30, 60 or 100 mg/kg, increases histone H3 and H4 acetylation, and reduces GSK-3 activity, in the hippocampus. Thirty min post-injury administration of 400 mg/kg valproate improved BBB integrity as indicated by a reduction in Evans Blue dye extravasation. Consistent with its dose response to inhibit GSK-3 and HDACs, valproate at 400 mg/kg, but not 100 mg/kg, reduced TBI-associated hippocampal dendritic damage, lessened cortical contusion volume, and improved motor function and spatial memory. These behavioral improvements were not observed when SAHA (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid), a selective HDAC inhibitor, was administered.
Our findings indicate that valproate given soon after TBI can be neuroprotective. As clinically proven interventions that can be used to minimize the damage following TBI are not currently available, the findings from this report support the further testing of valproate as an acute therapeutic strategy.
Brain edema as a result of secondary injury following traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major clinical concern. Neutrophils are known to cause increased vascular permeability leading to edema formation in peripheral tissue, but their role in the pathology following TBI remains unclear.
In this study we used controlled cortical impact (CCI) as a model for TBI and investigated the role of neutrophils in the response to injury. The outcome of mice that were depleted of neutrophils using an anti-Gr-1 antibody was compared to that in mice with intact neutrophil count. The effect of neutrophil depletion on blood-brain barrier function was assessed by Evan's blue dye extravasation, and analysis of brain water content was used as a measurement of brain edema formation (24 and 48 hours after CCI). Lesion volume was measured 7 and 14 days after CCI. Immunohistochemistry was used to assess cell death, using a marker for cleaved caspase-3 at 24 hours after injury, and microglial/macrophage activation 7 days after CCI. Data were analyzed using Mann-Whitney test for non-parametric data.
Neutrophil depletion did not significantly affect Evan's blue extravasation at any time-point after CCI. However, neutrophil-depleted mice exhibited a decreased water content both at 24 and 48 hours after CCI indicating reduced edema formation. Furthermore, brain tissue loss was attenuated in neutropenic mice at 7 and 14 days after injury. Additionally, these mice had a significantly reduced number of activated microglia/macrophages 7 days after CCI, and of cleaved caspase-3 positive cells 24 h after injury.
Our results suggest that neutrophils are involved in the edema formation, but not the extravasation of large proteins, as well as contributing to cell death and tissue loss following TBI in mice.
Neutrophil; traumatic brain injury; brain edema; controlled cortical impact; neuroprotection; blood-brain-barrier; cell death; microglia; neutrophil-depletion; mouse.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can induce intestinal inflammatory response and mucosal injury. Antioxidant transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) has been shown in our previous studies to prevent oxidative stress and inflammatory response in gut after TBI. The objective of this study was to test whether tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ), an Nrf2 inducer, can protect against TBI-induced intestinal inflammatory response and mucosal injury in mice. Adult male ICR mice were randomly divided into three groups: (1) sham + vehicle group, (2) TBI + vehicle group, and (3) TBI + tBHQ group (n = 12 per group). Closed head injury was adopted using Hall's weight-dropping method. Intestinal mucosa apoptosis and inflammatory-related factors, such as nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), were investigated at 24 h after TBI. As a result, we found that oral treatment with 1% tBHQ prior to TBI for one week markedly decreased NF-κB activation, inflammatory cytokines production, and ICAM-1 expression in the gut. Administration of tBHQ also significantly attenuated TBI-induced intestinal mucosal apoptosis. The results of the present study suggest that tBHQ administration could suppress the intestinal inflammation and reduce the mucosal damage following TBI.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) with its associated morbidity is a major area of unmet medical need that lacks effective therapies. TBI initiates a neuroinflammatory cascade characterized by activation of astrocytes and microglia, and increased production of immune mediators including proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. This inflammatory response contributes both to the acute pathologic processes following TBI including cerebral edema, in addition to longer-term neuronal damage and cognitive impairment. However, activated glia also play a neuroprotective and reparative role in recovery from injury. Thus, potential therapeutic strategies targeting the neuroinflammatory cascade must use careful dosing considerations, such as amount of drug and timing of administration post injury, in order not to interfere with the reparative contribution of activated glia.
We tested the hypothesis that attenuation of the acute increase in proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines following TBI would decrease neurologic injury and improve functional neurologic outcome. We used the small molecule experimental therapeutic, Minozac (Mzc), to suppress TBI-induced up-regulation of glial activation and proinflammatory cytokines back towards basal levels. Mzc was administered in a clinically relevant time window post-injury in a murine closed-skull, cortical impact model of TBI. Mzc effects on the acute increase in brain cytokine and chemokine levels were measured as well as the effect on neuronal injury and neurobehavioral function.
Administration of Mzc (5 mg/kg) at 3 h and 9 h post-TBI attenuates the acute increase in proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine levels, reduces astrocyte activation, and the longer term neurologic injury, and neurobehavioral deficits measured by Y maze performance over a 28-day recovery period. Mzc-treated animals also have no significant increase in brain water content (edema), a major cause of the neurologic morbidity associated with TBI.
These results support the hypothesis that proinflammatory cytokines contribute to a glial activation cycle that produces neuronal dysfunction or injury following TBI. The improvement in long-term functional neurologic outcome following suppression of cytokine upregulation in a clinically relevant therapeutic window indicates that selective targeting of neuroinflammation may lead to novel therapies for the major neurologic morbidities resulting from head injury, and indicates the potential of Mzc as a future therapeutic for TBI.
To understand the dynamics of brain edema in different areas after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rabbit, we used dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) to monitor blood–brain barrier (BBB) permeability and cytotoxic brain edema after weight drop-induced TBI in rabbit. The dynamics of BBB permeability and brain edema were quantified using Ktrans and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in the focal and perifocal lesion areas, as well as the area contralateral to the lesion. In the focal lesion area, Ktrans began to increase at 3 h post-TBI, peaked at 3 days, and decreased gradually while remaining higher than sham injury animals at 7 and 30 days. ADC was more variable, increased slightly at 3 h, decreased to its lowest value at 7 days, then increased to a peak at 30 days. In the perifocal lesion area, Ktrans began to increase at 1 day, peaked at 3–7 days, and returned to control level by 30 days. ADC showed a trend to increase at 1 day, followed by a continuous increase thereafter. In the contralateral area, no changes in Ktrans and ADC were observed at any time-point. These data demonstrate that different types of brain edema predominate in the focal and perifocal lesion areas. Specifically cytotoxic edema was predominant in the focal lesion area while vasogenic edema predominated in the perifocal area in acute phase. Furthermore, secondary opening of the BBB after TBI may appear if secondary injury is not controlled. BBB damage may be a driving force for cytotoxic brain edema and could be a new target for TBI intervention.
blood-brain barrier; cytotoxic edema; diffusion-weighted imaging; dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI; rabbit; traumatic brain injury; vasogenic edema
This work is to study the baicalin and its three analogs, baicalin, wogonoside, and wogonin, on the protective effect of neuron from oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) and toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) expression in OGD damage. The results showed that baicalin and its three analogs did protect neurons from OGD damage and downregulated protein level of TLR2. D-Glucopyranosiduronic acid on site 7 in the structure played a core of cytotoxicity of these flavonoid analogs. The methoxyl group on carbon 8 of the structure had the relation with TLR2 protein expression, as well as the anti-inflammation. In addition, we detected caspase3 and antioxidation capability, to investigate the effect of four analogs on cell apoptosis and total antioxidation competence in OGD model.
Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a devastating stroke subtype in which perihematomal inflammation contributes to neuronal injury and functional disability. Histologically, the region becomes infiltrated with neutrophils and activated microglia followed by neuronal loss but little is known about the immune signals that coordinate these events. This study aimed to determine the role of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in the innate immune response after ICH and its impact on neurobehavioral outcome.
Transgenic mice incapable of TLR4 signaling and wild-type controls were subjected to striatal blood injection to model ICH. The perihematomal inflammatory response was then quantified by immunohistochemistry, whole brain flow cytometry, and PCR. The critical location of TLR4 signaling was determined by blood transfer experiments between genotypes. Functional outcomes were quantified in all cohorts using the cylinder and open field tests.
TLR4-deficient mice had markedly decreased perihematomal inflammation, associated with reduced recruitment of neutrophils and monocytes, fewer microglia, and improved functional outcome by day 3 after ICH. Moreover, blood transfer experiments revealed that TLR4 on leukocytes or platelets within the hemorrhage contributes to perihematomal leukocyte infiltration and the neurological deficit.
Together, these data identify a critical role for TLR4 signaling in perihematomal inflammation and injury and indicate this pathway may be a target for therapeutic intervention.
Background and Purpose
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and the scavenger receptor CD36 are key molecular sensors for the innate immune response to invading pathogens. However, these receptors may also recognize endogenous “danger signals” generated during brain injury, such as cerebral ischemia, and trigger a maladaptive inflammatory reaction. Indeed, CD36 and TLR2 and 4 are involved in the inflammation and related tissue damage caused by brain ischemia. Because CD36 may act as a coreceptor for TLR2 heterodimers (TLR2/1 or TLR2/6), we tested whether such interaction plays a role in ischemic brain injury.
The TLR activators FSL-1 (TLR2/6), Pam3 (TLR2/1), or lipopolysaccharide (TLR4) were injected intracerebroventricularly into wild-type or CD36-null mice, and inflammatory gene expression was assessed in the brain. The effect of TLR activators on the infarct produced by transient middle cerebral artery occlusion was also studied.
The inflammatory response induced by TLR2/1 activation, but not TLR2/6 or TLR4 activation, was suppressed in CD36-null mice. Similarly, TLR2/1 activation failed to increase infarct volume in CD36-null mice, whereas TLR2/6 or TLR4 activation exacerbated postischemic inflammation and increased infarct volume. In contrast, the systemic inflammatory response evoked by TLR2/6 activation, but not by TLR2/1 activation, was suppressed in CD36-null mice.
In the brain, TLR2/1 signaling requires CD36. The cooperative signaling of TLR2/1 and CD36 is a critical factor in the inflammatory response and tissue damage evoked by cerebral ischemia. Thus, suppression of CD36-TLR2/1 signaling could be a valuable approach to minimize postischemic inflammation and the attendant brain injury.
inflammation; middle cerebral artery occlusion; cyclooxygenase-2; stroke; microglia
Emotional disorders are a common outcome from mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) in humans, but their pathophysiological basis is poorly understood. We have developed a mouse model of closed-head blast injury using an air pressure wave delivered to a small area on one side of the cranium, to create mild TBI. We found that 20-psi blasts in 3-month-old C57BL/6 male mice yielded no obvious behavioral or histological evidence of brain injury, while 25–40 psi blasts produced transient anxiety in an open field arena but little histological evidence of brain damage. By contrast, 50–60 psi blasts resulted in anxiety-like behavior in an open field arena that became more evident with time after blast. In additional behavioral tests conducted 2–8 weeks after blast, 50–60 psi mice also demonstrated increased acoustic startle, perseverance of learned fear, and enhanced contextual fear, as well as depression-like behavior and diminished prepulse inhibition. We found no evident cerebral pathology, but did observe scattered axonal degeneration in brain sections from 50 to 60 psi mice 3–8 weeks after blast. Thus, the TBI caused by single 50–60 psi blasts in mice exhibits the minimal neuronal loss coupled to “diffuse” axonal injury characteristic of human mild TBI. A reduction in the abundance of a subpopulation of excitatory projection neurons in basolateral amygdala enriched in Thy1 was, however, observed. The reported link of this neuronal population to fear suppression suggests their damage by mild TBI may contribute to the heightened anxiety and fearfulness observed after blast in our mice. Our overpressure air blast model of concussion in mice will enable further studies of the mechanisms underlying the diverse emotional deficits seen after mild TBI.
mild TBI; anxiety; fear; depression; mice
Mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) have been associated with long-term cognitive deficits relating to trauma-induced neurodegeneration. These long-term deficits include impaired memory and attention, changes in executive function, emotional instability, and sensorimotor deficits. Furthermore, individuals with concussions show a high co-morbidity with a host of psychiatric illnesses (e.g., depression, anxiety, addiction) and dementia. The neurological damage seen in mTBI patients is the result of the impact forces and mechanical injury, followed by a delayed neuroimmune response that can last hours, days, and even months after the injury. As part of the neuroimmune response, a cascade of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines are released and can be detected at the site of injury as well as subcortical, and often contralateral, regions. It has been suggested that the delayed neuroinflammatory response to concussions is more damaging then the initial impact itself. However, evidence exists for favorable consequences of cytokine production following traumatic brain injuries as well. In some cases, treatments that reduce the inflammatory response will also hinder the brain's intrinsic repair mechanisms. At present, there is no evidence-based pharmacological treatment for concussions in humans. The ability to treat concussions with drug therapy requires an in-depth understanding of the pathophysiological and neuroinflammatory changes that accompany concussive injuries. The use of neurotrophic factors [e.g., nerve growth factor (NGF)] and anti-inflammatory agents as an adjunct for the management of post-concussion symptomology will be explored in this review.
neuroinflammation; concussion; mTBI; IL-10; IL-1; TNF-alpha; TGF-beta; IL-6
Glioma is the most common primary adult brain tumor with poor prognosis because of the ease of spreading tumor cells to other regions of the brain. Cell apoptosis is frequently targeted for developing anti-cancer drugs. In the present study, we have assessed wogonin, a flavonoid compound isolated from Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, induced ROS generation, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and cell apoptosis. Wogonin induced cell death in two different human glioma cells, such as U251 and U87 cells but not in human primary astrocytes (IC 50 > 100 μM). Wogonin-induced apoptotic cell death in glioma cells was measured by propidine iodine (PI) analysis, Tunnel assay and Annexin V staining methods. Furthermore, wogonin also induced caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation as well as up-regulation of cleaved PARP expression. Moreover, treatment of wogonin also increased a number of signature ER stress markers glucose-regulated protein (GRP)-78, GRP-94, Calpain I, and phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor-2α (eIF2α). Treatment of human glioma cells with wogonin was found to induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Wogonin induced ER stress-related protein expression and cell apoptosis was reduced by the ROS inhibitors apocynin and NAC (N-acetylcysteine). The present study provides evidence to support the fact that wogonin induces human glioma cell apoptosis mediated ROS generation, ER stress activation and cell apoptosis.
ROS; apoptosis; wogonin; glioma; ER stress
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause a broad array of behavioral problems including cognitive and emotional deficits. Human studies comparing neurobehavioral outcomes after TBI suggest that cognitive impairments increase with injury severity, but emotional problems such as anxiety and depression do not. To determine whether cognitive and emotional impairments increase as a function of injury severity we exposed mice to sham, mild, moderate, or severe controlled cortical impact (CCI) and evaluated performance on a variety of neurobehavioral tests in the same animals before assessing lesion volume as a histological measure of injury severity. Increasing cortical impact depth successfully produced lesions of increasing severity in our model. We found that cognitive impairments in the Morris water maze increased with injury severity, as did the degree of contralateral torso flexion, a measure of unilateral striatal damage. TBI also caused deficits in emotional behavior as quantified in the forced swim test, elevated-plus maze, and prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle, but these deficits were not dependent on injury severity. Stepwise regression analyses revealed that Morris water maze performance and torso flexion predicted the majority of the variability in lesion volume. In summary, we find that cognitive deficits increase in relation to injury severity, but emotional deficits do not. Our data suggest that the threshold for emotional changes after experimental TBI is low, with no variation in behavioral deficits seen between mild and severe brain injury.
elevated-plus maze; forced swim test; Morris water maze; prepulse inhibition; traumatic brain injury
Disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) results in cerebral edema formation, which is a major cause for high mortality after traumatic brain injury (TBI). As anesthetic care is mandatory in patients suffering from severe TBI it may be important to elucidate the effect of different anesthetics on cerebral edema formation. Tight junction proteins (TJ) such as zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) and claudin-5 (cl5) play a central role for BBB stability. First, the influence of the volatile anesthetics sevoflurane and isoflurane on in-vitro BBB integrity was investigated by quantification of the electrical resistance (TEER) in murine brain endothelial monolayers and neurovascular co-cultures of the BBB. Secondly brain edema and TJ expression of ZO-1 and cl5 were measured in-vivo after exposure towards volatile anesthetics in native mice and after controlled cortical impact (CCI). In in-vitro endothelial monocultures, both anesthetics significantly reduced TEER within 24 hours after exposure. In BBB co-cultures mimicking the neurovascular unit (NVU) volatile anesthetics had no impact on TEER. In healthy mice, anesthesia did not influence brain water content and TJ expression, while 24 hours after CCI brain water content increased significantly stronger with isoflurane compared to sevoflurane. In line with the brain edema data, ZO-1 expression was significantly higher in sevoflurane compared to isoflurane exposed CCI animals. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed disruption of ZO-1 at the cerebrovascular level, while cl5 was less affected in the pericontusional area. The study demonstrates that anesthetics influence brain edema formation after experimental TBI. This effect may be attributed to modulation of BBB permeability by differential TJ protein expression. Therefore, selection of anesthetics may influence the barrier function and introduce a strong bias in experimental research on pathophysiology of BBB dysfunction. Future research is required to investigate adverse or beneficial effects of volatile anesthetics on patients at risk for cerebral edema.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of death and disability in children and adolescents. The neuropathological sequelae that result from TBI are a complex cascade of events including edema formation, which occurs more frequently in the pediatric than the adult population. This developmental difference in the response to injury may be related to higher water content in the young brain and also to molecular mechanisms regulating water homeostasis. Aquaporins (AQPs) provide a unique opportunity to examine the mechanisms underlying water mobility, which remain poorly understood in the juvenile post-traumatic edema process. We examined the spatiotemporal expression pattern of principal brain AQPs (AQP1, 4, and 9) after juvenile TBI (jTBI) related to edema formation and resolution observed using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Using a controlled cortical impact in post-natal 17 day-old rats as a model of jTBI, neuroimaging analysis showed a global decrease in water mobility (apparent diffusion coefficient, ADC) and an increase in edema (T2-values) at 1 day post-injury, which normalized by 3 days. Immunohistochemical analysis of AQP4 in perivascular astrocyte endfeet was increased in the lesion at 3 and 7 days post-injury as edema resolved. In contrast, AQP1 levels distant from the injury site were increased at 7, 30, and 60 days within septal neurons but did not correlate with changes in edema formation. Group differences were not observed for AQP9. Overall, our observations confirm that astrocytic AQP4 plays a more central role than AQP1 or AQP9 during the edema process in the young brain.
Edema; Astrocyte; Aquaporin; juvenile traumatic brain injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) releases a cascade of inflammatory cytokines. Vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) and ghrelin have known anti-inflammatory effects; furthermore, ghrelin release is stimulated by acetylcholine. We hypothesized VNS decreases post-TBI inflammation through a ghrelin-mediated mechanism. TBI was created in five groups of mice: sham, TBI, TBI/ghrelin, TBI/VNS, and TBI/VNS/ghrelin receptor antagonist (GRa). Serum and tissue ghrelin, and serum TNF-α were measured. Ghrelin increased following VNS 2 h post-TBI compared to sham or TBI. At 6 h, TBI and TBI/VNS/GRa had increased TNF-α compared to sham while TBI/VNS and TBI/ghrelin had TNF-α level comparable to sham. The highest ghrelin was measured in stomach where TBI decreased ghrelin in contrast to an increase by VNS. In conclusion, VNS increased serum ghrelin and decreased TNF-α following TBI. This was abrogated with GRa. Our data suggests that ghrelin plays an important role in the anti-inflammatory effects of VNS following TBI.
traumatic brain injury; inflammation; vagus nerve; ghrelin; neuroenteric axis
Although secondary insults of hypoxia and hypotension (HH) are generally considered to cause fulminant brain edema in traumatic brain injury (TBI), the combined effect of TBI with HH on brain edema and specifically the expression of aquaporin-4 (AQP4) have not been fully elucidated. The goal of this study was to document the effect of secondary insults on brain water, AQP4 expression, electrolytes, and blood–brain barrier (BBB) permeability during the acute stage of edema development. We measured brain water content and electrolytes (series 1); BBB permeability based on Evans blue (EB) dye extravasation (series 2); and AQP4 expression using immunoblotting (series 3) at 1 h and 5 h following cortical contusion injury (CCI). Secondary insults significantly worsened BBB function at 5 h post injury. Moreover, a significant reduction of upregulation on AQP4 expression was observed in trauma, coupled with a mild secondary insult of hypoxia hypotension. These findings indicate that a secondary insult following CCI at 5 h post injury worsens brain edema, disrupts ionic homeostasis, and blunts the normal upregulation of AQP4 that occurs after trauma, suggesting that the blunting of AQP4 may contribute to the detrimental effects of secondary insults.
aquaporin-4; blood–brain barrier; brain edema; controlled cortical impact; secondary insult; traumatic brain injury
Hemorrhage is a direct consequence of traumatic injury to the central nervous system and may cause innate immune reactions including cerebral Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 upregulation which usually leads to poor outcome in the traumatic brain injury. In spinal cord injury (SCI), however, how hemorrhage induces innate immune reaction in spinal parenchyma remains unknown. The present study aimed to see whether blood component and/or other factor(s) induce TLR4 and microglia/macrophages involved innate immune reactions in the rat spinal cord after traumatic injury.
Using the compressive SCI model of the rat, hemorrhage in the spinal cord was identified by hematoxylin-eosin staining. Microglia/macrophage activation, TLR4 expression, and cell apoptosis were investigated by immunohistochemistry. Nuclear factor (NF)-κB p50 level of the two segments of the cord was detected by western blotting assay. With carbon powder injection, blood origination of the hematoma was explored. The blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) states of the lesion site and the hematoma were compared with immunohistochemistry and tannic acid-ferric chloride staining.
Histological observation found blood accumulated in the center of compression lesion site (epicenter) and in the hematoma approximately 1.5 cm away from the epicenter. TLR4 expression, microglia//macrophage activation, and subsequent apoptosis in the area of far-away hematoma were late and weak in comparison to that in epicenter. In addition, TLR4 positive microglia/macrophages appeared to be phagocytotic in the far-away hematoma more obviously than that in the epicenter. Injected carbon powder indicated that accumulated blood of the far-away hematoma originated from the bleeding of the lesion epicenter, and the BSCB around the hematoma was not compromised in the early phase. Accordingly, at 3 days post injury, NF-κB p50 was upregulated based on the similar levels of blood component hemoglobin, and cell apoptosis was obvious in the epicenter but not in the far-away hematoma.
These data suggest that besides blood component, BSCB compromise and the extent of tissue injury contribute more to TLR4 and microglia/macrophage responses to the spinal cord hemorrhage. Therefore, the innate immune environment is a necessary consideration for the SCI therapy targeting TLR4 and microglia/macrophages.
Hemorrhage; Toll-like receptor 4; Microglia/macrophage; Spinal cord injury; Blood-spinal cord barrier; Rat