The beneficial effects of simvastatin on experimental traumatic brain injury (TBI) have been demonstrated in previous studies. In this study, we investigated the effects of simvastatin on axonal injury and neurite outgrowth after experimental TBI and explored the underlying mechanisms. Wistar rats were subjected to controlled cortical impact or sham surgery. Saline or simvastatin was administered for 14 days. A modified neurological severity score (mNSS) test was performed to evaluate functional recovery. Immunohistochemistry studies using synaptophysin, neurofilament H (NF-H) and amyloid-β precursor protein (APP) were performed to examine synaptogenesis and axonal injury. Primary cortical neurons (PCNs) were subjected to oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD) followed by various treatments. Western blot analysis was utilized to assess the activation of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI-3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK- 3β)/adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) pathways. Simvastatin decreased the density of APP-positive profiles and increased the density of NF-H -positive profiles. Simvastatin reduced mNSS, which was correlated with the increase of axonal density. Simvastatin treatment stimulated the neurite outgrowth of PCNs after OGD, which was attenuated by LY294002 and enhanced by lithium chloride (LiCl). Simvastatin activated Akt and mTOR, inactivated GSK-3β and dephosphorylated APC in the injured PCNs. Our data suggest that simvastatin reduces axonal injury, enhances neurite outgrowth and promotes neurological functional recovery after experimental TBI. The beneficial effects of simvastatin on neurite outgrowth may be mediated through manipulation of the PI-3K/Akt/mTOR and PI-3K/GSK-3β/APC pathways.
axonal injury; glycogen synthase kinase 3β; neurite outgrowth; simvastatin; traumatic brain injury
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the present study was undertaken to investigate the therapeutic effect of acute administration of human bone marrow stromal cells (hMSCs) on traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to measure the temporal profile of angiogenesis after the injury with or without cell intervention. Male Wistar rats (300 to 350 g, n=18) subjected to controlled cortical impact TBI were intravenously injected with 1 mL of saline (n=9) or hMSCs in suspension (n=9, 3 × 106 hMSCs) 6 hours after TBI. In-vivo MRI acquisitions of T2-weighted imaging, cerebral blood flow (CBF), three-dimensional (3D) gradient echo imaging, and blood-to-brain transfer constant (Ki) of contrast agent were performed on all animals 2 days after injury and weekly for 6 weeks. Sensorimotor function and spatial learning were evaluated. Volumetric changes in the trauma-induced brain lesion and the lateral ventricles were tracked and quantified using T2 maps, and hemodynamic alteration and blood–brain barrier permeability were monitored by CBF and Ki, respectively. Our data show that transplantation of hMSCs 6 hours after TBI leads to reduced cerebral atrophy, early and enhanced cerebral tissue perfusion and improved functional outcome compared with controls. The hMSC treatment increases angiogenesis in the injured brain, which may promote neurologic recovery after TBI.
angiogenesis; marrow stromal cells; MRI; perfusion; ventricular dilation
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains a leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. No effective pharmacological treatments are available for TBI because all Phase II/III TBI clinical trials have failed. This highlights a compelling need to develop effective treatments for TBI. Endogenous neurorestoration occurs in the brain after TBI, including angiogenesis, neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, oligodendrogenesis and axonal remodeling, which may be associated with spontaneous functional recovery after TBI. However, the endogenous neurorestoration following TBI is limited. Treatments amplifying these neurorestorative processes may promote functional recovery after TBI. Thymosin beta4 (Tβ4) is the major G-actin-sequestering molecule in eukaryotic cells. In addition, Tβ4 has other properties including anti-apoptosis and anti-inflammation, promotion of angiogenesis, wound healing, stem/progenitor cell differentiation, and cell migration and survival, which provide the scientific foundation for the corneal, dermal, and cardiac wound repair multicenter clinical trials. Here, we describe Tβ4 as a neuroprotective and neurorestorative candidate for treatment of TBI.
thymosin beta4; traumatic brain injury; rat; neuroprotection; neurorestoration
In this study, we seek to investigate the effects of simvastatin on proliferation, migration and apoptosis in human U251 and U87 glioma cells and the underlying molecular mechanism.
We used colony formation assay to test the cell proliferation, in vitro scratch assay to examine the cell migration, and caspase-3 activity assay, annexin V staining and cytochrome C release to evaluate the cell apoptosis. Lipid raft fractions were isolated from glioma cells. Total cholesterol content assay was used to test the change of cholesterol level in lipid raft fractions. Immunocytochemistry staining was performed to detect the changes of lipid rafts in cell membrane. Western blotting analysis was performed to examine the signal transduction both in cells and in lipid raft fractions.
Simvastatin inhibited proliferation and migration of U251 and U87 cells dose-dependently. Simvastatin induced an increase of caspase-3 activity, annexin V staining, and downregulated the PI3K/Akt pathway. Simvastatin also decreased cholesterol content in lipid raft fractions, suppressed caveolin-1 expression in the lipid rafts and induced Fas translocation into lipid rafts, suggesting that simvastatin may inhibit pro-survival PI3K/Akt pathway and trigger caspase-3-dependent apoptotic cell death through the modulation of lipid rafts.
These results suggest that modulation of lipid rafts, Fas translocation and PI3K/Akt/caspase-3 pathway are involved in the antitumor effect of simvastatin and it may have a potential role in cancer prevention and treatment.
apoptosis; glioma; lipid rafts; PI3K/Akt pathway; simvastatin
This study was designed to investigate the potential beneficial effects of bone marrow stromal cell (MSC) treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in mice.
Twelve female C57BL/6J mice (weight, 21–26 g) were injured with controlled cortical impact and divided into 2 groups (n = 6 each). The experimental group was injected with MSCs (0.3 × 106) intravenously one day after TBI, whereas the control group was injected with saline. MSCs were harvested from male mice, and male to female transplantation performed to identify male donor cells within female recipient animals. This was achieved by localizing Y chromosomes within the female mice. Neurological function was assessed using the Morris water maze and Foot Fault tests. All mice were sacrificed 35 days after TBI. Brain sections were stained using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry to identify MSCs as well as to analyze vascular density following MSC treatment.
Both modalities of testing demonstrated significant improvement in neurological function in the MSC-treated group compared to the saline-treated control group (p < 0.05). Histologically, Y-chromosome labeled MSCs were easily identified in the injured brain, localized primarily around the lesion boundary zone. There was also significant increase in vascular density in the lesion boundary zone and hippocampus of MSC-treated mice compared to control mice.
This is the first study to show beneficial effects of MSC treatment after TBI in mice.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI); marrow stromal cells (MSCs); mice
Our previous studies found that simvastatin treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rats had beneficial effects on spatial learning functions. In the current study we wanted to determine whether simvastatin suppressed neuronal cell apoptosis after TBI, and if so, the underlying mechanisms of this process.
Saline or simvastatin (1 mg/kg) was administered orally to rats starting at Day 1 after TBI and then daily for 14 days. Modified neurological severity scores (NSS) were employed to evaluate the sensory motor functional recovery. Rats were sacrificed at 1, 3, 7, 14 and 35 days after treatment and brain tissue was harvested for TUNEL staining, caspase-3 activity assay and Western blot analysis. Simvastatin significantly decreased NSS from Days 7 to 35 after TBI, significantly reduced the number of TUNEL-positive cells at Day 3, suppressed the caspase-3 activity at Days 1 and 3 after TBI, and increased phosphorylation of Akt as well as FOXO1, IκB and eNOS, which are the downstream targets of the pro-survival Akt signaling protein.
These data suggested that simvastatin reduces the apoptosis in neuronal cells and improves the sensory motor function recovery after TBI. These beneficial effects of simvastatin may be mediated through activation of Akt, FOXO1 and NF-κB signaling pathways, which suppress the activation of caspase-3 and apoptotic cell death, and thereby lead to neuronal function recovery after TBI.
simvastatin; apoptosis; Akt; FOXO1; IκB; traumatic brain injury
Functional recovery after brain injury in animals is improved by marrow stromal cells (MSC) which stimulate neurite reorganization. However, MRI measurement of neurite density changes after injury has not been performed. In this study, we investigate the feasibility of MRI measurement of neurite density in an animal model of traumatic brain injury (TBI) with and without MSC treatment.
Fifteen male Wistar rats, were treated with saline (n = 6) or MSCs (n = 9) and were sacrificed at 6 weeks after controlled cortical impact (CCI). Healthy non-CCI rats (n = 5), were also employed. Ex-vivo MRI scans were performed two days after the rats were sacrificed. Multiple-shell hybrid diffusion imaging encoding scheme and spherical harmonic expansion of a two-compartment water diffusion displacement model were used to extract neurite related parameters. Bielshowski and Luxol Fast blue was used for staining axons and myelin, respectively. Modified Morris water maze and neurological severity score (mNSS) test were performed for functional evaluation. The treatment effects, the correlations between neurite densities measured by MRI and histology, and the correlations between MRI and functional variables were calculated by repeated measures analysis of variance, the regression correlation analysis tests, and spearman correlation coefficients.
Neurite densities exhibited a significant correlation (R2>0.80, p<1E−20) between MRI and immuno-histochemistry measurements with 95% lower bound of the intra-correlation coefficient (ICC) as 0.86. The conventional fractional anisotropy (FA) correlated moderately with histological neurite density (R2 = 0.59, P<1E−5) with 95% lower bound of ICC as 0.76. MRI data revealed increased neurite reorganization with MSC treatment compared with saline treatment, confirmed by histological data from the same animals. mNSS were significantly correlated with MRI neurite density in the hippocampus region.
The present studies demonstrated that neurite density can be estimated by MRI after TBI and MRI measurement of neurite density is a sensitive marker to MSC treatment response.
Our previous study demonstrates that delayed (initiated 24 hours post injury) erythropoietin (EPO) therapy for traumatic brain injury (TBI) significantly improves spatial learning. In this study, we investigated the impact of inhibition of EPO treatment-mediated neurogenesis on spatial learning after experimental TBI. Young male Wistar rats (318±7g) were subjected to unilateral controlled cortical impact injury. TBI rats received delayed EPO treatment (5,000 U/kg in saline) administered intraperitoneally once daily at 1, 2, and 3 days post injury and intracerebroventricular (icv) infusion of either a mitotic inhibitor cytosine-b-D-arabinofuranoside or vehicle (saline) for 14 days. Another 2 groups of TBI rats were treated intraperitoneally with saline and infused icv with either a mitotic inhibitor Ara-C or saline for 14 days. Animals receiving sham operation were infused icv with either Ara-C infusion or saline. Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) was administered to label dividing cells. Spatial learning was assessed using a modified Morris water maze test. Animals were sacrificed at 35 days after injury and brain sections stained for immunohistochemical analyses. As compared to the saline treatment, immunohistochemical analysis revealed that delayed EPO treatment significantly increased the number of BrdU-positive cells and new neurons co-stained with BrdU and NeuN (mature neuron marker) in the dentate gyrus in TBI rats. EPO treatment improved spatial learning after TBI. Ara-C infusion significantly abolished neurogenesis and spatial learning recovery after TBI and EPO treatment. Both EPO and Ara-C reduced the number of astrocytes and microglia/macrophages in the dentate gyrus after TBI. Our findings are highly suggestive for an important role of EPO-amplified dentate gyrus neurogenesis as one of the mechanisms underlying EPO therapeutic treatments after TBI, strongly indicating that strategies promoting endogenous neurogenesis may hold an important therapeutic potential for treatment of TBI.
astrocytes; erythropoietin; microglia; neurogenesis; spatial learning; traumatic brain injury
Thymosin beta 4 (Tβ4) is a regenerative multifunctional peptide. This study will test the hypothesis that Tβ4 treatment initiated 6 hours post-injury reduces brain damage and improves functional recovery in rats after traumatic brain injury (TBI).
TBI was induced by controlled cortical impact over the left parietal cortex. Young adult male Wistar rats with TBI were randomly divided into the following groups: 1) Saline group (n=7); 2) Tβ4-6 mg/kg group (n=8), and 3) Tβ4-30 mg/kg group (n=8). Tβ4 or saline was administered intraperitoneally starting at 6 hours post-injury and then repeated daily at 24 and 48 hours. An additional group of sham animals underwent surgery without injury (n=6). Sensorimotor function and spatial learning were assessed using a modified neurological severity score and Morris water maze tests, respectively. Animals were sacrificed 35 days after injury and brain sections processed to assess lesion volume, hippocampal cell loss, cell proliferation and neurogenesis after Tβ4 treatment.
Compared to saline, Tβ4 treatment initiated 6 hours post-injury significantly improved sensorimotor functional recovery and spatial learning, reduced cortical lesion volume and hippocampal cell loss, and enhanced cell proliferation and neurogenesis in the injured hippocampus. The high dose of Tβ4 showed better beneficial effects compared to the low-dose treatment.
Tβ4 treatment initiated 6 hours post-injury provides both neuroprotection and neurorestoration after TBI, indicating that Tβ4 has promising therapeutic potential in TBI patients. These data warrant further investigation of the optimal dose and therapeutic window of Tβ4 treatment for TBI and the associated underlying mechanisms.
neuroprotection; neurogenesis; rat; thymosin beta 4; traumatic brain injury
We assessed the effects of low dose methamphetamine treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rats by employing MRI, immunohistology, and neurological functional tests. Young male Wistar rats were subjected to TBI using the controlled cortical impact model. The treated rats (n = 10) received an intravenous (iv) bolus dose of 0.42 mg/kg of methamphetamine at eight hours after the TBI followed by continuous iv infusion for 24 hrs. The control rats (n = 10) received the same volume of saline using the same protocol. MRI scans, including T2-weighted imaging (T2WI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), were performed one day prior to TBI, and at 1 and 3 days post TBI, and then weekly for 6 weeks. The lesion volumes of TBI damaged cerebral tissue were demarcated by elevated values in T2 maps and were histologically identified by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. The fractional anisotropy (FA) values within regions-of-interest (ROI) were measured in FA maps deduced from DTI, and were directly compared with Bielschowsky’s silver and Luxol fast blue (BLFB) immunohistological staining. No therapeutic effect on lesion volumes was detected during 6 weeks after TBI. However, treatment significantly increased FA values in the recovery ROI compared with the control group at 5 and 6 weeks after TBI. Myelinated axons histologically measured using BLFB were significantly increased (p<0.001) in the treated group (25.84±1.41%) compared with the control group (17.05±2.95%). Significant correlations were detected between FA and BLFB measures in the recovery ROI (R = 0.54, p<0.02). Methamphetamine treatment significantly reduced modified neurological severity scores from 2 to 6 weeks (p<0.05) and foot-fault errors from 3 days to 6 weeks (p<0.05) after TBI. Thus, the FA data suggest that methamphetamine treatment improves white matter reorganization from 5 to 6 weeks after TBI in rats compared with saline treatment, which may contribute to the observed functional recovery.
Erythropoietin (EPO) improves functional recovery after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Here, we investigated the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) on EPO-induced therapeutic efficacy in rats after TBI. Young male Wistar rats were subjected to unilateral controlled cortical impact injury and then infused intracerebroventricularly with either a potent selective VEGFR2 inhibitor SU5416 or vehicle dimethyl sulfoxide. Animals from both groups received delayed EPO treatment (5,000 U/kg in saline) administered intraperitoneally daily at 1, 2, and 3 days post injury. TBI rats treated with saline administered intraperitoneally daily at 1, 2, and 3 days post injury served as EPO treatment controls. 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine was administered to label dividing cells. Spatial learning and sensorimotor function were assessed using a modified Morris water maze test and modified neurological severity score, respectively. Animals were sacrificed at 4 days post injury for measurement of VEGF and VEGFR2 or 35 days post injury for evaluation of cell proliferation, angiogenesis and neurogenesis. EPO treatment promoted sensorimotor and cognitive functional recovery after TBI. EPO treatment increased brain VEGF expression and phosphorylation of VEGFR2. EPO significantly increased cell proliferation, angiogenesis and neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus after TBI. Compared to the vehicle, SU5416 infusion significantly inhibited phosphorylation of VEGFR2, cell proliferation, angiogenesis, and neurogenesis as well as abolished functional recovery in EPO-treated TBI rats. These findings indicate the VEGF/VEGFR2 activation plays an important role in EPO-mediated neurobehavioral recovery and neurovascular remodeling after TBI.
angiogenesis; erythropoietin; neurogenesis; traumatic brain injury; vascular endothelial growth factor
Delayed (24 hours post injury) treatment with erythropoietin (EPO) improves functional recovery following experimental traumatic brain injury (TBI). In this study, we tested whether therapeutic effects of delayed EPO treatment for TBI are dose-dependent in an attempt to establish an optimal dose paradigm for the delayed EPO treatment.
Experimental TBI was performed in anesthetized young adult male Wistar rats using a controlled cortical impact device. Sham animals underwent the same surgical procedure without injury. The animals (8 rats/group) received 3 intraperitoneal injections of EPO (0, 1000, 3000, 5000 or 7000 U/kg body weight, at 24, 48 and 72 hours) after TBI. Sensorimotor and cognitive functions were assessed using a modified neurological severity score and foot fault test, and Morris water maze tests, respectively. Animals were sacrificed 35 days after injury and brain sections stained for immunohistochemical analyses.
Compared to the saline treatment, EPO treatment at doses from1000 to 7000 U/kg did not alter lesion volume but significantly reduced hippocampal neuron loss, enhanced angiogenesis and neurogenesis in the injured cortex and hippocampus, and significantly improved sensorimotor function and spatial learning. The medium dose at 5000 U/kg exhibited a significant improvement in histological and functional outcomes compared with the lower or higher EPO dose groups.
These data demonstrate that delayed (24 hours post injury) treatment with EPO provides dose-dependent neurorestoration which may contribute to improved functional recovery after TBI, implying that application of an optimal dose of EPO is likely to increase successful preclinical and clinical trials for treatment of TBI.
angiogenesis; cell proliferation; erythropoietin; neurogenesis; rat; sensorimotor; spatial learning; traumatic brain injury
This study examines the effects of combination therapy of collagen scaffolds and human marrow stromal cells (hMSCs) on the expression of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rats. Adult male Wistar rats (n=48) were injured with controlled cortical impact and treated either with scaffolds suffused with hMSCs (3×106) or hMSCs (3×106) alone transplanted into the lesion cavity 1 week after TBI. A control group was treated with saline. Neurological function was assessed using the Morris Water Maze test (MWM) and modified Neurological Severity Scores (mNSS). The rats were sacrificed 14 days after TBI and brain samples were processed for immunohistochemical analysis and quantitative Western blot and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) studies. Enhanced functional improvement was observed on both the mNSS and MWM tests in the scaffold+hMSC-treated group compared to the other two groups. Immunostaining with anti-human mitochondrial antibody (E5204) showed more hMSCs in the injury zone of the scaffold+hMSC group compared to the hMSC-alone group. Triple staining showed that more neurons were tPA-positive in the scaffold+hMSC group compared to the other two groups (p<0.05). Western blot analysis and qRT-PCR showed that scaffold+hMSC and hMSC-alone treatment enhanced the expression of tPA compared to controls (p<0.05), but tPA expression was significantly greater in the scaffold+hMSC group. The induction of tPA by hMSCs after TBI may be one of the mechanisms involved in promoting functional improvement after TBI.
collagen scaffolds; marrow stromal cells; tissue plasminogen activator; traumatic brain injury
We treated traumatic brain injury (TBI) with human bone marrow stromal cells (hMSCs) and evaluated the effect of treatment on white matter reorganization using MRI. We subjected male Wistar rats (n = 17) to controlled cortical impact and either withheld treatment (controls; n = 9) or inserted collagen scaffolds containing hMSCs (n = 8). Six weeks later, the rats were sacrificed and MRI revealed selective migration of grafted neural progenitor cells towards the white matter reorganized boundary of the TBI-induced lesion. Histology confirmed that the white matter had been reorganized, associated with increased fractional anisotropy (FA; p <0.01) in the recovery regions relative to the injured core region in both treated and control groups. Treatment with hMSCs increased FA in the recovery regions, lowered T2 in the core region, decreased lesion volume and improved functional recovery relative to untreated controls. Immunoreactive staining showed axonal projections emanating from neurons and extruding from the corpus callosum into the ipsilateral cortex at the boundary of the lesion. Fiber tracking (FT) maps derived from diffusion tensor imaging confirmed the immunohistological data and provided information on axonal rewiring. The apparent kurtosis coefficient (AKC) detected additional axonal remodeling regions with crossing axons, confirmed by immunohistological staining, compared with FA. Our data demonstrate that AKC, FA, FTand T2 can be used to evaluate treatment-induced white matter recovery, which may facilitate restorative therapy in patients with TBI.
MRI; DTI; traumatic brain injury; rat brain
Our previous studies demonstrated that simvastatin reduced neuronal death, increased neurogenesis, and promoted functional recovery after TBI. Objective: To investigate the effect of simvastatin on angiogenesis after TBI, and the related signaling pathways.
Saline or simvastatin (1 mg/kg) was administered orally to rats starting at day 1 after TBI or sham surgery and then daily for 14 days. Rats were sacrificed at 3 and 14 days after treatment. Brain sections and tissues were prepared for immunohistochemical staining, ELISA, and Western blot analysis, respectively. Cultured rat brain microvascular endothelial cells (RBMVECs) were subjected to oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) followed by immunocytochemical staining with phallotoxins and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2). Western blot analysis was carried out to examine the simvastatin-induced activation of the v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog (Akt) signaling pathway. The expression of VEGFR-2 was detected by ELISA.
Simvastatin significantly increased the length of vascular perimeter, promoted the proliferation of endothelial cells, and improved the sensorimotor function after TBI. Simvastatin stimulated endothelial cell tube formation after OGD in vitro. VEGFR-2 expression in both brain tissues and cultured RBMVECs was enhanced after simvastatin treatment, which may be modulated by activation of Akt. Akt-dependent endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation was also induced by simvastatin in vivo and in vitro.
Simvastatin augments TBI-induced angiogenesis in the lesion boundary zone and hippocampus and improves functional recovery. Simvastatin also promotes angiogenesis in vitro. These beneficial effects on angiogenesis may be related to simvastatin-induced activation of the VEGFR-2/Akt/eNOS signaling pathway.
Angiogenesis; Simvastatin; Traumatic brain injury; VEGFR-2
Erythropoietin (EPO) improves functional recovery after traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study was designed to investigate long-term (3 mo) effects of EPO on brain remodeling and functional recovery in rats after TBI. Young male Wistar rats were subjected to unilateral controlled cortical impact injury. TBI rats were divided into the following groups: 1) Saline group (n = 7); 2) EPO-6h group (n = 8); and 3) EPO-24h group (n = 8). EPO (5,000 U/kg in saline) was administered intraperitoneally at 6 h, and 1 and 2 days (EPO-6h group) or at 1, 2, and 3 days (EPO-24h group) post injury. Neurological function was assessed using a modified neurological severity score, footfault and Morris water maze tests. Animals were sacrificed at 3 mos after injury and brain sections stained for immunohistochemical analyses. Compared to the saline, EPO-6h treatment significantly reduced cortical lesion volume, while EPO-24h therapy did not affect the lesion volume (P<0.05). Both the EPO-6h and EPO-24h treatments significantly reduced hippocampal cell loss (P<0.05), promoted angiogenesis (P<0.05) and increased endogenous cellular proliferation (BrdU-positive cells) in the injury boundary zone and hippocampus (P<0.05) compared to saline controls. Significantly enhanced neurogenesis (BrdU/NeuN-positive cells) was seen in the dentate gyrus of both EPO groups compared to the saline group. Both EPO treatments significantly improved long-term sensorimotor and cognitive functional recovery after TBI. In conclusion, the beneficial effects of posttraumatic EPO treatment on injured brain persisted for at least 3 months. The long-term improvement in functional outcome may in part be related to the neurovascular remodeling induced by EPO.
angiogenesis; cell proliferation; erythropoietin; neurogenesis; functional recovery; traumatic brain injury
Cell therapy promotes brain remodeling and improves functional recovery after various central nervous system disorders, including traumatic brain injury (TBI). We tested the hypothesis that treatment of TBI with intravenous administration of human marrow stromal cells (hMSCs) provides therapeutic benefit in modifying hemodynamic and structural abnormalities, which are detectable by in vivo MRI. hMSCs were labeled with superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoparticles. Male Wistar rats (300–350 g, n=18) subjected to controlled cortical impact TBI were intravenously injected with 1 mL of saline (n=9) or hMSCs in suspension (n=9, approximately 3×106 SPIO-labeled hMSCs) 5 days post-TBI. In vivo MRI measurements consisting of cerebral blood flow (CBF), T2-weighted imaging, and 3D gradient echo imaging were performed for all animals 2 days post-TBI and weekly for 6 weeks. Functional outcome was evaluated with modified neurological severity score and Morris water maze test. Cell engraftment was detected in vivo by 3D MRI and confirmed by double staining. Ventricle and lesion volumetric alterations were measured using T2 maps, and hemodynamic abnormality was tracked by MRI CBF measurements. Our data demonstrate that treatment with hMSCs following TBI diminishes hemodynamic abnormalities by early restoration and preservation of CBF in the brain regions adjacent to and remote from the impact site, and reduces generalized cerebral atrophy, all of which may contribute to the observed improvement of functional outcome.
cerebral atrophy; cerebral blood flow; marrow stromal cells; MRI; ventricular expansion
Carbamylated erythropoietin (CEPO) is a modified erythropoietin molecule that does not affect hematocrit. In this study, we compared the efficacy of a single dose with triple dose of CEPO treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rats.
TBI was induced by controlled cortical impact over the left parietal cortex. CEPO (50 μg/kg) was administered intraperitoneally in rats with TBI at 6 hours (CEPO x 1 group) or 6, 24 and 48 hours (CEPO x 3 group) post injury. Neurological function was assessed using a modified neurological severity score, footfault and Morris water maze tests. Animals were sacrificed 35 days after injury and brain sections stained for immunohistochemistry to assess lesion volume, cell loss, cell proliferation, angiogenesis and neurogenesis after CEPO treatment.
Compared to the vehicle treatment, single treatment of CEPO (6 hours) significantly reduced lesion volume and hippocampal cell loss, enhanced angiogenesis and neurogenesis in the injured cortex and hippocampus, and significantly improved sensorimotor functional recovery and spatial learning in rats after TBI. Importantly, triple dosing of CEPO (6, 24 and 48 hours) further reduced lesion volume and improved functional recovery and neurogenesis compared to the CEPO x 1 group.
Our results indicate that CEPO has considerable therapeutic potential in TBI and related pathologies and furthermore that repeated dosing in the sub-acute phase might have important pharmacological relevance.
angiogenesis; carbamylated erythropoietin; functional recovery; neurogenesis; traumatic brain injury
We have previously demonstrated that human marrow stromal cells (hMSCs) embedded in collagen I scaffolds significantly enhance the restorative therapeutic effect of hMSCs after traumatic brain injury (TBI). In this study, we test the hypothesis that the collagen scaffold alters gene expression in hMSCs and that hMSCs impregnated into scaffolds increase the astrocytic expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the injured brain. Following TBI induced by controlled cortical impact injury, scaffold with hMSCs (3.0 × 106), hMSCs-only and saline were implanted into the lesion cavity one week after brain injury (n = 8/each group). Morris water Maze and modified neurological severity scores were performed to evaluate the spatial learning and sensorimotor functions, respectively. Lesion volume and expression of VEGF were measured one week after different treatments. In vitro, total RNA from hMSCs was extracted one week after culture with or without collagen I scaffold for evaluation of gene microarrays. Furthermore, an RT-PCR study on a select subgroup of genes was performed to identify the changes of expression between the culturing hMSCs with collagen scaffolds and hMSCs only. The treatment of TBI with collagen scaffold impregnated with hMSCs significantly decreases the functional deficits from TBI within 7 days after treatment, and significantly enhances the VEGF expression of astrocytes in the injured brain compared to the hMSCs-only group. In vitro data indicate that collagen scaffolds stimulate hMSCs to express multiple factors which may contribute to hMSC survival, tissue repair and functional recovery after TBI.
endothelial vascular growth factor (VEGF); traumatic brain injury (TBI); marrow stromal cell; collagen scaffold; restorative therapy
This study was designed to investigate the efficacy of delayed thymosin β4 (TB4) treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rats.
Young adult male Wistar rats were divided into the following groups: 1) Sham group (6 rats); 2) TBI + Saline group (9 rats); 3) and TBI + Tβ4 group (10 rats). TBI was induced by controlled cortical impact over the left parietal cortex. Thymosin β4 (6 mg/kg) or saline was administered intraperitoneally starting at Day 1 and then every 3 days for an additional 4 doses. Neurological function was assessed using a modified neurological severity score (mNSS), footfault and Morris water maze tests. Animals were killed 35 days after injury, and brain sections stained for immunohistochemistry to assess angiogenesis, neurogenesis, and oligodendrogenesis after Tβ4 treatment.
Compared to the saline treatment, delayed Tβ4 treatment did not affect lesion volume but significantly reduced hippocampal cell loss, enhanced angiogenesis and neurogenesis in the injured cortex and hippocampus, increased oligodendrogenesis in the CA3 region, and significantly improved sensorimotor functional recovery and spatial learning.
These data for the first time demonstrate that delayed administration of Tβ4 significantly improves histological and functional outcomes in rats with TBI, indicating that Tβ4 has considerable therapeutic potential for patients with TBI.
angiogenesis; neurogenesis; oligodendrogenesis; rat; thymosin beta4; traumatic brain injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains a major cause of death and permanent disability worldwide, especially in children and young adults. A total of 1.5 million people experience head trauma each year in the United States, with an annual economic cost exceeding $56 billion. Unfortunately, almost all Phase III TBI clinical trials have yet to yield a safe and effective neuroprotective treatment, raising questions regarding the use of neuroprotective strategies as the primary therapy for acute brain injuries. Recent preclinical data suggest that neurorestorative strategies that promote angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing endothelial cells), axonal remodeling (axonal sprouting and pruning), neurogenesis (generation of new neurons) and synaptogenesis (formation of new synapses) provide promising opportunities for the treatment of TBI. This review discusses select cell-based and pharmacological therapies that activate and amplify these endogenous restorative brain plasticity processes to promote both repair and regeneration of injured brain tissue and functional recovery after TBI.
angiogenesis; functional recovery; neurogenesis; plasticity; synaptogenesis; traumatic brain injury
Erythropoietin (EPO) promotes functional recovery after traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study was designed to investigate whether EPO treatment promotes contralateral corticospinal tract (CST) plasticity in the spinal cord in rats after TBI. Biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) was injected into the right sensorimotor cortex to anterogradely label the CST. TBI was induced by controlled cortical impact over the left parietal cortex immediately after BDA injections. EPO (5,000 U/kg) or saline was administered intraperitoneally at Days 1, 2, and 3 post injury. Neurological function was assessed using a modified neurological severity score (mNSS) and footfault tests. Animals were sacrificed 35 days after injury and brain sections stained for histological analysis. Compared to the saline treatment, EPO treatment significantly improved sensorimotor functional outcome (lower mNSS and reduced footfaults) from Days 7 to 35 post injury. TBI alone significantly stimulated contralateral CST axon sprouting toward the denervated gray matter of the cervical and lumbar spinal cord; however, EPO treatment further significantly increased the axon sprouting in TBI rats although EPO treatment did not significantly affect axon sprouting in sham animals. The contralesional CST sprouting was highly and positively correlated with sensorimotor recovery after TBI. These data demonstrate that CST fibers originating from the contralesional intact cerebral hemisphere are capable of sprouting into the denervated spinal cord after TBI and EPO treatment, which may at least partially contribute to functional recovery.
axonal plasticity; erythropoietin; functional recovery; rats; traumatic brain injury
This study was designed to investigate delayed erythropoietin (EPO) treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rats comparing efficacy of a single dose with triple doses.
Young adult male Wistar rats were randomly divided into the following groups: 1) Sham group (n = 6); 2) TBI + Saline group (n = 6); 3) TBI + EPOx1 group (n = 6); and 4) TBI + EPOx3 group (n = 7). TBI was induced by controlled cortical impact over the left parietal cortex. EPO (5,000 U/kg) or saline was administered intraperitoneally at 1 day (EPOx1 group) or at days 1, 2, and 3 (EPOx3 group) post injury. Neurological function was assessed using a modified neurological severity score (mNSS), footfault and Morris water maze tests. Animals were sacrificed 35 days after injury and brain sections stained for immunohistochemistry.
Compared to the saline treatment, EPO treatment in both the EPOx1 and EPOx3 groups significantly reduced hippocampal cell loss, enhanced angiogenesis and neurogenesis in the injured cortex and hippocampus, and significantly improved neurological functional outcome. The EPOx3 group exhibited significantly improved functional and histological outcomes compared with the EPOx1 group.
These data demonstrate that delayed posttraumatic administration of EPO significantly improves histological and long-term functional outcomes in rats after TBI. The triple doses of delayed EPO treatment exhibit better histological and functional outcomes in rats although a single dose of EPO provides substantial benefits compared to saline treatment.
angiogenesis; cell proliferation; erythropoietin; neurogenesis; rat; sensorimotor; spatial learning; traumatic brain injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) elicits a strong inflammatory response that contributes to the acute pathological processes seen following TBI, including cerebral edema and disruption of the blood–brain barrier (BBB), in addition to longer-term neurological damage and cognitive impairment. Proteasome inhibitors reduce vascular thrombotic and inflammatory events and consequently protect vascular function. In the present study we evaluated the neuroprotective effect of Velcade® (bortezomib), a potent and selective inhibitor of proteasomes, which is in clinical use for the treatment of multiple myeloma. When administered within 2 h after TBI onset, Velcade reduced inflammatory responses, lesion volume, and neurological functional deficits, and enhanced neuronal survival. Western blot and ELISA showed that Velcade decreased the expression of NF-κB. These results suggest that in the experimental setting, Velcade is an effective neuroprotective agent for the treatment of TBI.
neuroprotection; rats; traumatic brain injury; Velcade
Our previous studies demonstrated that simvastatin treatment promotes neuronal survival and reduces inflammatory cytokine release from astrocytes after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rats. Since reactive astrocytes produce inflammation mediators, in the current study we investigated the effect of simvastatin on astrocyte activation after TBI and its underlying signaling mechanisms.
Saline or simvastatin (1 mg/kg) was orally administered to rats starting at Day 1 after TBI and then daily for 14 days. Rats were sacrificed at 1, 3, 7, 14 days after treatment. Brain sections and tissues were prepared for immunohistochemical staining and Western blot analysis, respectively. Cultured astrocytes were subjected to oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) and followed by immunocytochemical staining with GFAP/caveolin-1 and Western blot analysis. Lipid rafts were isolated from the cell lysate and Western blot was carried out to detect the changes in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression and phosphorylation in the lipid rafts.
Simvastatin significantly promoted neuronal survival after TBI and attenuated activation of astrocytes. Simvastatin modified the caveolin-1 expression in lipid rafts in astrocyte cell membrane, suppressed the phosphorylation of EGFR in lipid rafts of astrocytes after OGD, and inhibited the OGD-induced interleukin-1 (IL-1) production.
These data suggest that simvastatin reduces reactive astrogliosis and rescues neuronal cells after TBI. These beneficial effects of simvastatin may be mediated by inhibiting astrocyte activation after TBI through modifying the caveolin-1 expression in lipid rafts and the subsequent modulation of EGFR phosphorylation in lipid rafts.
simvastatin; EGFR; lipid rafts; astrocyte; traumatic brain injury