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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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) 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) 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
Erythropoietin (EPO) and its receptor (EPOR), essential for erythropoiesis, are expressed in the nervous system. Recombinant human EPO treatment promotes functional outcome after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke, suggesting that the endogenous EPO/EPOR system plays an important role in neuroprotection and neurorestoration. This study was designed to investigate effects of the EPOR on histological and functional outcomes after TBI. Experimental TBI was induced in adult EPOR-null and wild-type mice by controlled cortical impact. Neurological function was assessed using the modified Morris Water Maze and footfault tests. Animals were sacrificed 35 days after injury and brain sections stained for immunohistochemistry. As compared to the wild-type injured mice, EPOR-null mice did not exhibit higher susceptibility to TBI as exemplified by tissue loss in the cortex, cell loss in the dentate gyrus, impaired spatial learning, angiogenesis and cell proliferation. We observed that less cortical neurogenesis occurred and that sensorimotor function (i.e., footfault) was more impaired in the EPOR-null mice after TBI. Co-accumulation of amyloid precursor protein (axonal injury marker) and calcium was observed in the ipsilateral thalamus in both EPOR-null and wild-type mice after TBI with more calcium deposits present in the wild-type mice. This study demonstrates for the first time that EPOR null in the nervous system aggravates sensorimotor deficits, impairs cortical neurogenesis and reduces thalamic calcium precipitation after TBI.
cell proliferation; erythropoietin receptor null; mouse; sensorimotor; spatial learning; traumatic brain injury
Traumatic injury to the brain (TBI) results in a complex set of responses involving various symptoms and long-term consequences. TBI of any form can cause cognitive, behavioral and immunologic changes in later life, which underscores the problem of underdiagnosis of mild TBI that can cause long-term neurological deficits. TBI disrupts the blood–brain barrier (BBB) leading to infiltration of immune cells into the brain and subsequent inflammation and neurodegeneration. TBI-induced peripheral immune responses can also result in multiorgan damage. Despite worldwide research efforts, the methods of diagnosis, monitoring and treatment for TBI are still relatively ineffective. In this review, we delve into the mechanism of how TBI-induced central and peripheral immune responses affect the disease outcome and discuss recent developments in the continuing effort to combat the consequences of TBI and new ways to enhance repair of the damaged brain.
Traumatic brain injury; Blood–brain barrier; Neuroinflammation; Cytokines; Chemokines; Stem cells
Apoptosis contributes to delayed neuronal cell death in traumatic brain injury (TBI). To investigate if Bax plays a role in neuronal cell death and functional outcome after TBI, Bax gene disrupted (null) mice and wild type (WT) controls were subjected to the controlled cortical impact (CCI) model of TBI. Motor function in WT and Bax null mice was evaluated using the round beam balance and the wire grip test on days 0–5. Spatial memory was assessed using a Morris Water Maze adopted for mice on days 14–18 post injury. For histopathological analysis, animals were sacrificed 24 hrs and 21 days post injury. In all three behavioral tests, the sham and TBI-injured Bax null mice performed significantly worse than their WT sham and TBI-injured counterparts. However, Bax null mice exhibited a higher percentage of surviving neurons in the CA1 and CA3 regions of hippocampus measured at 21 days post injury. Twenty four hours after trauma, Bax null mice had fewer TUNEL positive cells in the CA1 and dentate regions of hippocampus as compared to WT mice suggesting that deletion of the Bax gene ameliorates hippocampal cell death after TBI. Sham-operated Bax null mice had significantly greater brain volume as compared to WT mice. Thus, it is possible that Bax deficiency in the transgenic mice produces developmental behavioral effects, perhaps due to Bax’s role in regulating cell death during development.
TBI; transgenic mice; Bax; apoptosis
Apoptosis contributes to delayed neuronal cell death in traumatic brain injury (TBI). To investigate if Bax plays a role in neuronal cell death and functional outcome after TBI, Bax gene disrupted (null) mice and wild-type (WT) controls were subjected to the controlled cortical impact (CCI) model of TBI. Motor function in WT and Bax null mice was evaluated using the round beam balance and the wire grip test on days 0–5. Spatial memory was assessed using a Morris Water Maze adopted for mice on days 14–18 post-injury. For histopathological analysis, animals were sacrificed 24 h and 21 days post-injury. In all three behavioral tests, the sham and TBI-injured Bax null mice performed significantly worse than their WT sham and TBI-injured counterparts. However, Bax null mice exhibited a higher percentage of surviving neurons in the CA1 and CA3 regions of hippocampus measured at 21 days post-injury. At 24 h after trauma, Bax null mice had fewer TUNEL positive cells in the CA1 and dentate regions of hippocampus as compared to WT mice, suggesting that deletion of the Bax gene ameliorates hippocampal cell death after TBI. Sham-operated Bax null mice had significantly greater brain volume as compared to WT mice. Thus, it is possible that Bax deficiency in the transgenic mice produces developmental behavioral effects, perhaps due to Bax's role in regulating cell death during development.
apoptosis; Bax; TBI; transgenic mice
Cerebral inflammation involves molecular cascades contributing to progressive damage after traumatic brain injury (TBI). The chemokine CC ligand-2 (CCL2) (formerly monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, MCP-1) is implicated in macrophage recruitment into damaged parenchyma after TBI. This study analyzed the presence of CCL2 in human TBI, and further investigated the role of CCL2 in physiological and cellular mechanisms of secondary brain damage after TBI. Sustained elevation of CCL2 was detected in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of severe TBI patients for 10 days after trauma, and in cortical homogenates of C57Bl/6 mice, peaking at 4 to 12 h after closed head injury (CHI). Neurological outcome, lesion volume, macrophage/microglia infiltration, astrogliosis, and the cerebral cytokine network were thus examined in CCL2-deficient (−/−) mice subjected to CHI. We found that CCL2−/− mice showed altered production of multiple cytokines acutely (2 to 24 h); however, this did not affect lesion size or cell death within the first week after CHI. In contrast, by 2 and 4 weeks, a delayed reduction in lesion volume, macrophage accumulation, and astrogliosis were observed in the injured cortex and ipsilateral thalamus of CCL2−/− mice, corresponding to improved functional recovery as compared with wild-type mice after CHI. Our findings confirm the significant role of CCL2 in mediating post-traumatic secondary brain damage.
brain trauma; chemokines; inflammation; macrophages
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
Functional recovery is markedly restricted following traumatic brain injury (TBI), partly due to myelin-associated inhibitors including Nogo-A, myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG) and oligodendrocyte myelin glycoprotein (OMgp), that all bind to the Nogo-66 receptor-1 (NgR1). In previous studies, pharmacological neutralization of both Nogo-A and MAG improved outcome following TBI in the rat, and neutralization of NgR1 improved outcome following spinal cord injury and stroke in rodent models. However, the behavioral and histological effects of NgR1 inhibition have not previously been evaluated in TBI. We hypothesized that NgR1 negatively influences behavioral recovery following TBI, and evaluated NgR1−/− mice (NgR1−/− study) and, in a separate study, soluble NgR1 infused intracerebroventricularly immediately post-injury to neutralize NgR1 (sNgR1 study) following TBI in mice using a controlled cortical impact (CCI) injury model. In both studies, motor function, TBI-induced loss of tissue, and hippocampal β-amyloid immunohistochemistry were not altered up to 5 weeks post-injury. Surprisingly, cognitive function (as evaluated with the Morris water maze at 4 weeks post-injury) was significantly impaired both in NgR1−/− mice and in mice treated with soluble NgR1. In the sNgR1 study, we evaluated hippocampal mossy fiber sprouting using the Timm stain and found it to be increased at 5 weeks following TBI. Neutralization of NgR1 significantly increased mossy fiber sprouting in sham-injured animals, but not in brain-injured animals. Our data suggest a complex role for myelin-associated inhibitors in the behavioral recovery process following TBI, and urge caution when inhibiting NgR1 in the early post-injury period.
cognition; mossy fiber sprouting; NgR−/− mice; Nogo-66 receptor; traumatic brain injury
The biochemical sequelae that follow traumatic brain injury (TBI) are numerous and affect many different brain functions at different points of time as the secondary cascades progress. The complexity of the resulting pathophysiology is such that a singular therapeutic intervention may not provide adequate benefit and a combination of drugs targeting different pathways may be needed. Two of the most widely studied injury mechanisms are oxidative stress and inflammation. Numerous studies have suggested that pharmacological agents targeting either of these pathways may produce an improvement in histological and functional outcome measures. We hypothesized that combining melatonin, a potent antioxidant, with minocycline, a bacteriostatic agent that also inhibit microglia, would provide better neuroprotection than either agent used alone. To test this hypothesis, we subjected anesthetized adult male rats to a 1.5 mm controlled cortical impact and administered melatonin or vehicle in the acute post-injury period followed by daily minocycline or vehicle injections beginning the following day in a 2×2 study design. The animals were allowed to recover for 5 days before undergoing Morris water maze (MWM) testing to assess cognitive functioning following injury. There was no significant difference in MWM performance between the vehicle, melatonin, minocycline, or combination treatments. Following sacrifice and histological examination for neuroprotection, we did not observe a significant difference between the groups in the amount of cortical tissue that was spared nor was there a significant difference in [3H]-PK11195 binding, a marker for activated microglia. These results suggest that neither drug has therapeutic efficacy, however dosing and/or administration issues may have played a role.
Autoradiography; Morris water maze; controlled cortical impact; rat
Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is activated in response to cerebral ischemia leading to substantial brain damage. In contrast, mild activation of TLR4 by preconditioning with low dose exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) prior to cerebral ischemia dramatically improves outcome by reprogramming the signaling response to injury. This suggests that TLR4 signaling can be altered to induce an endogenously neuroprotective phenotype. However, the TLR4 signaling events involved in this neuroprotective response are poorly understood. Here we define several molecular mediators of the primary signaling cascades induced by LPS preconditioning that give rise to the reprogrammed response to cerebral ischemia and confer the neuroprotective phenotype.
C57BL6 mice were preconditioned with low dose LPS prior to transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). Cortical tissue and blood were collected following MCAO. Microarray and qtPCR were performed to analyze gene expression associated with TLR4 signaling. EMSA and DNA binding ELISA were used to evaluate NFκB and IRF3 activity. Protein expression was determined using Western blot or ELISA. MyD88-/- and TRIF-/- mice were utilized to evaluate signaling in LPS preconditioning-induced neuroprotection.
Gene expression analyses revealed that LPS preconditioning resulted in a marked upregulation of anti-inflammatory/type I IFN-associated genes following ischemia while pro-inflammatory genes induced following ischemia were present but not differentially modulated by LPS. Interestingly, although expression of pro-inflammatory genes was observed, there was decreased activity of NFκB p65 and increased presence of NFκB inhibitors, including Ship1, Tollip, and p105, in LPS-preconditioned mice following stroke. In contrast, IRF3 activity was enhanced in LPS-preconditioned mice following stroke. TRIF and MyD88 deficient mice revealed that neuroprotection induced by LPS depends on TLR4 signaling via TRIF, which activates IRF3, but does not depend on MyD88 signaling.
Our results characterize several critical mediators of the TLR4 signaling events associated with neuroprotection. LPS preconditioning redirects TLR4 signaling in response to stroke through suppression of NFκB activity, enhanced IRF3 activity, and increased anti-inflammatory/type I IFN gene expression. Interestingly, this protective phenotype does not require the suppression of pro-inflammatory mediators. Furthermore, our results highlight a critical role for TRIF-IRF3 signaling as the governing mechanism in the neuroprotective response to stroke.
Toll-like receptors; stroke; NFκB; inflammation; preconditioning; neuroprotection