The WRAIR projectile concussive impact (PCI) model was developed for preclinical study of concussion. It represents a truly non-invasive closed-head injury caused by a blunt impact. The original design, however, has several drawbacks that limit the manipulation of injury parameters. The present study describes engineering advancements made to the PCI injury model including helmet material testing, projectile impact energy/head kinematics and impact location. Material testing indicated that among the tested materials, 'fiber-glass/carbon' had the lowest elastic modulus and yield stress for providing an relative high percentage of load transfer from the projectile impact, resulting in significant hippocampal astrocyte activation. Impact energy testing of small projectiles, ranging in shape and size, showed the steel sphere produced the highest impact energy and the most consistent impact characteristics. Additional tests confirmed the steel sphere produced linear and rotational motions on the rat's head while remaining within a range that meets the criteria for mTBI. Finally, impact location testing results showed that PCI targeted at the temporoparietal surface of the rat head produced the most prominent gait abnormalities. Using the parameters defined above, pilot studies were conducted to provide initial validation of the PCI model demonstrating quantifiable and significant increases in righting reflex recovery time, axonal damage and astrocyte activation following single and multiple concussions.
Brain edema is a primary factor in the morbidity and mortality of traumatic brain injury (TBI). The various isoforms of aquaporin 4 (AQP4) and aquaporin 9 (AQP9) are important factors influencing edema following TBI. Others have reported that these AQPs are regulated by the transcription factor hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) 1?. Therefore, we examined the temporal alterations in the multiple isoforms of AQP4 and AQP9, and its possible upstream regulation by HIF1?, and evaluated whether different severities of penetrating injury influence these mechanisms.
The role of systemic autoimmunity in human traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other forms of brain injuries is recognized but not well understood. In this study, a systematic investigation was performed to identify serum autoantibody responses to brain-specific proteins after TBI in humans. TBI autoantibodies showed predominant immunoreactivity against a cluster of bands from 38-50 kDa on human brain immunoblots, which were identified as GFAP and GFAP breakdown products. GFAP autoantibody levels increased by 7 days after injury, and were of the IgG subtype predominantly. Results from in vitro tests and rat TBI experiments also indicated that calpain was responsible for removing the amino and carboxyl termini of GFAP to yield a 38 kDa fragment. Additionally, TBI autoantibody staining co-localized with GFAP in injured rat brain and in primary rat astrocytes. These results suggest that GFAP breakdown products persist within degenerating astrocytes in the brain. Anti-GFAP autoantibody also can enter living astroglia cells in culture and its presence appears to compromise glial cell health. TBI patients showed an average 3.77 fold increase in anti-GFAP autoantibody levels from early (0-1 days) to late (7-10 days) times post injury. Changes in autoantibody levels were negatively correlated with outcome as measured by GOS-E score at 6 months, suggesting that TBI patients with greater anti-GFAP immune-responses had worse outcomes. Due to the long lasting nature of IgG, a test to detect anti-GFAP autoantibodies is likely to prolong the temporal window for assessment of brain damage in human patients.
During the past decade there has been an increasing recognition of the incidence of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and a better understanding of the subtle neurological and cognitive deficits that may result from it. A substantial, albeit suboptimal, effort has been made to define diagnostic criteria for mTBI and improve diagnostic accuracy. Thus, biomarkers that can accurately and objectively detect brain injury after mTBI and, ideally, aid in clinical management are needed. In this review, we discuss the current research on serum biomarkers for mTBI including their rationale and diagnostic performances. Sensitive and specific biomarkers reflecting brain injury can provide important information regarding TBI pathophysiology and serve as candidate markers for predicting abnormal computed tomography findings and/or the development of residual deficits in patients who sustain an mTBI. We also outline the roles of biomarkers in settings of specific interest including pediatric TBI, sports concussions and military injuries, and provide perspectives on the validation of such markers for use in the clinic. Finally, emerging proteomics-based strategies for identifying novel markers will be discussed.
The rate of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in service members with wartime injuries has risen rapidly in recent years, and complex, variable links have emerged between TBI and long-term neurological disorders. The multifactorial nature of TBI secondary cellular response has confounded attempts to find cellular biomarkers for its diagnosis and prognosis or for guiding therapy for brain injury. One possibility is to apply emerging systems biology strategies to holistically probe and analyze the complex interweaving molecular pathways and networks that mediate the secondary cellular response through computational models that integrate these diverse data sets. Here, we review available systems biology strategies, databases, and tools. In addition, we describe opportunities for applying this methodology to existing TBI data sets to identify new biomarker candidates and gain insights about the underlying molecular mechanisms of TBI response. As an exemplar, we apply network and pathway analysis to a manually compiled list of 32 protein biomarker candidates from the literature, recover known TBI-related mechanisms, and generate hypothetical new biomarker candidates.
The tripeptide glycine-proline-glutamate analogue NNZ-2566 (Neuren Pharmaceuticals) demonstrates neuroprotective efficacy in models of traumatic brain injury. In penetrating ballistic-like brain injury (PBBI), it significantly decreases injury-induced upregulation of inflammatory cytokines including TNF-?, IFN-?, and IL-6. However, the mechanism by which NNZ-2566 acts has yet to be determined. The activating transcription factor-3 (ATF3) is known to repress expression of these inflammatory cytokines and was increased at the mRNA and protein level 24-h post-PBBI. This study investigated whether 12 h of NNZ-2566 treatment following PBBI alters atf3 expression. PBBI alone significantly increased atf3 mRNA levels by 13-fold at 12 h and these levels were increased by an additional fourfold with NNZ-2566 treatment. To confirm that changes in mRNA translated to changes in protein expression, ATF3 expression levels were determined in vivo in microglia/macrophages, T cells, natural killer cells (NKCs), astrocytes, and neurons. PBBI alone significantly increased ATF3 in microglia/macrophages (820%), NKCs (58%), and astrocytes (51%), but decreased levels in T cells (48%). NNZ-2566 treatment further increased ATF3 protein expression in microglia/macrophages (102%), NKCs (308%), and astrocytes (13%), while reversing ATF3 decreases in T cells. Finally, PBBI increased ATF3 levels by 55% in neurons and NNZ-2566 treatment further increased these levels an additional 33%. Since increased ATF3 may be an innate protective mechanism to limit inflammation following injury, these results demonstrating that the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective drug NNZ-2566 increase both mRNA and protein levels of ATF3 in multiple cell types provide a cellular mechanism for NNZ-2566 modulation of neuroinflammation following PBBI.
The goal of this project was to determine whether biochemical markers of brain damage can be used to diagnose and assess the severity of injury in a rat model of penetrating ballistic-like brain injury (PBBI). To determine the relationship between injury magnitude and biomarker levels, rats underwent three discrete PBBI severity levels defined by the magnitude of the ballistic component of the injury, calibrated to equal 5%, 10%, or 12.5% of total rat brain volume. Cortex, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and blood were collected at multiple time points. Levels of three biomarkers (?II-spectrin breakdown product [SBDP150], glial fibrillary acidic protein [GFAP], and ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase-L1 [UCH-L1]), were measured using quantitative immunoblotting and/or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. In injured cortex, SBDP150 and GFAP levels were increased significantly over controls. Cortical SBDP150 was elevated at 1 day but not 7 days, and GFAP at 7 days but not 1 day. At their respective time points, mean levels of SBDP150 and GFAP biomarkers in the cortex rose stepwise as injury magnitude increased. In the CSF, increasing severity of PBBI was associated with increasing concentrations of both neuronal and glial biomarkers acutely at 1 day after injury, but no trends were observed at 7 days. In plasma, SBDP150 was elevated at 5?min after 10% PBBI and at 6?h after 12.5% PBBI. UCH-L1 levels in plasma were elevated acutely at 5?min post-injury reflecting injury severity and rapidly decreased within 2?h. Overall, our results support the conclusion that biomarkers are effective indicators of brain damage after PBBI and may also aid in the assessment of injury magnitude.
Closed-head concussive injury is one of the most common causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI). While single concussions result in short-term neurologic dysfunction, multiple concussions can result in cumulative damage and increased risk for neurodegenerative disease. Despite the prevalence of concussion, knowledge about what occurs in the brain following this injury is limited, in part due to the limited number of appropriate animal research models. To study clinically relevant concussion we recently developed a simple, non-invasive rodent model of closed-head projectile concussive impact (PCI) TBI. For this purpose, anesthetized rats were placed on a platform positioned above a torque-sealed microcentrifuge tube packed with fixed amounts of dry ice. Upon heating, rapid sublimation of the dry ice produced a build-up of compressed CO(2) that triggered an eruptive force causing the cap to launch as an intact projectile, resulting in a targeted PCI head injury. A stainless steel helmet was implemented to protect the head from bruising, yet allowing the brain to sustain a mild PCI event. Depending on the injury location and the application of the helmet, PCI-induced injuries ranged from severe (i.e., head injury with subdural hematomas, intracranial hemorrhage, and brain tissue damage), to mild (no head injury, intracranial hemorrhage, or gross morphological pathology). Although no gross pathology was evident in mild PCI-induced injury, the following protein changes and behavioral abnormalities were detected between 1 and 24 h after PCI injury: (1) upregulation of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in hippocampal regions; (2) upregulation of ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCHL-1) in cortical tissue; and (3) significant sensorimotor abnormalities. Overall, these results indicated that this PCI model was capable of replicating salient pathologies of a clinical concussion, and could generate reproducible and quantifiable outcome measures.
This study examines whether serum levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein breakdown products (GFAP-BDP) are elevated in patients with mild and moderate traumatic brain injury compared with controls and whether they are associated with traumatic intracranial lesions on computed tomography (CT) scan (positive CT result) and with having a neurosurgical intervention.
Antibodies provide a sensitive indicator of proteins displayed by bacteria during sepsis. Because signals produced by infection are naturally amplified during the antibody response, host immunity can be used to identify biomarkers for proteins that are present at levels currently below detectable limits. We developed a microarray comprising approximately 70% of the 4066 proteins contained within the Yersinia pestis proteome to identify antibody biomarkers distinguishing plague from infections caused by other bacterial pathogens that may initially present similar clinical symptoms. We first examined rabbit antibodies produced against proteomes extracted from Y. pestis, Burkholderia mallei, Burkholderia cepecia, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhimurium, Shigella flexneri, and Escherichia coli, all pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria. These antibodies enabled detection of shared cross-reactive proteins, fingerprint proteins common for two or more bacteria, and signature proteins specific to each pathogen. Recognition by rabbit and non-human primate antibodies involved less than 100 of the thousands of proteins present within the Y. pestis proteome. Further antigen binding patterns were revealed that could distinguish plague from anthrax, caused by the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus anthracis, using sera from acutely infected or convalescent primates. Thus, our results demonstrate potential biomarkers that are either specific to one strain or common to several species of pathogenic bacteria.
Proteomics and systems biology have significantly contributed to biomarker discovery in the field of brain injury. This study utilized 2D-DIGE-PMF-MS as a preliminary screen to detect biomarkers in a rat model of penetrating ballistic-like brain injury (PBBI). Brain-specific systems biology analysis of brain tissue identified 386 proteins having a fold change of more than 2, of which 321 proteins were increased and 65 were decreased 24 h after PBBI compared to sham controls. The majority of upregulated proteins were cytoskeletal (10.5%), nucleic acid binding (9.3%), or kinases (8.9%). Most proteins were involved in protein metabolism (22.7%), signal transduction (20.4%), and development (9.6%). Pathway analysis indicated that these proteins were involved in neurite outgrowth and cell differentiation. Semiquantitative Western blotting of 6, 24, 48, and 72 h after PBBI indicated ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase isozyme L1 (a proposed traumatic brain injury biomarker in human clinical trials), tyrosine hydroxylase, and syntaxin-6 were found to be consistently elevated in brain tissue and cerebral spinal fluid after PBBI compared to sham controls. Combining proteomics and brain-specific systems biology can define underlying mechanisms of traumatic brain injury and provide valuable information in biomarker discovery that, in turn, may lead to novel therapeutic targets.
To evaluate microtubule-associated proteins (MAP-2), a dendritic marker of both acute damage and chronic neuronal regeneration after injury, in serum of survivors after severe TBI and examine the association with long-term outcome.
The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have placed an increased awareness on traumatic brain injury (TBI). Various publications have estimated the incidence of TBI for our deployed servicemen, however all have been based on extrapolations of data sets or subjective evaluations due to our current method of diagnosing a TBI. Therefore it has been difficult to get an accurate rate and severity of deployment related TBIs, or the incidence of multiple TBIs our service members are experiencing. As such, there is a critical need to develop a rapid objective method to diagnose TBI on the battlefield. Because of the austere environment of the combat theater the ideal diagnostic platform faces numerous logistical constraints not encountered in civilian trauma centers. Consequently, a simple blood test to diagnosis TBI represents a viable option for the military. This perspective will provide information on some of the current options for TBI biomarkers, detail concerning battlefield constraints, and a possible acquisition strategy for the military. The end result is a non-invasive TBI diagnostic platform capable of providing much needed advances in objective triage capabilities and improved clinical management of in-Theater TBI.
We investigated apoptotic pathways in a model of severe traumatic brain injury, penetrating ballistic-like brain injury (PBBI). TUNEL staining identified increasing apoptosis within 24 h. From targeted arrays, 11 genes were identified for temporal mRNA evaluation. In addition, mRNA levels and enzyme activity for caspases 3, 8, and 9 were examined. In the death receptor-mediated apoptosis pathway, the relative quantities (RQs) of mRNA for tnfr1, fas, and tnf were upregulated while trail mRNA was downregulated. In the anti-apoptotic TNF-R2 pathway, tnfr2 and flip were upregulated while xiap was downregulated. These findings indicate that increases in tnf levels following injury are not only pro-apoptotic but may also signal competing anti-apoptotic mechanisms. For the mitochondria-mediated apoptosis pathway, RQs of anti-apoptotic factors bcl2a1d and birc3 were upregulated while both bcl2 and bax were downregulated. RQs for casp 3 and casp 8 increased while casp9 decreased. Enzymatic activity increased for caspases 3, 8, and 9. While multiple mechanisms promoting and inhibiting apoptosis are at play during the first week after a PBBI, the cumulative result remains increased apoptosis. The ability to understand and dissect these events will assist in the development and evaluation of treatments targeting apoptosis following severe brain injury.
This study compared early serum levels of ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase (UCH-L1) from patients with mild and moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) with uninjured and injured controls and examined their association with traumatic intracranial lesions on computed tomography (CT) scan (CT positive) and the need for neurosurgical intervention (NSI).
Outcome prediction following severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI) is a widely investigated field of research. A major breakthrough is represented by the IMPACT prognostic calculator based on admission data of more than 8500 patients. A growing body of scientific evidence has shown that clinically meaningful biomarkers, including glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1), and ?II-spectrin breakdown product (SBDP145), could also contribute to outcome prediction. The present study was initiated to assess whether the addition of biomarkers to the IMPACT prognostic calculator could improve its predictive power. Forty-five sTBI patients (GCS score?8) from four different sites were investigated. We utilized the core model of the IMPACT calculator (age, GCS motor score, and reaction of pupils), and measured the level of GFAP, UCH-L1, and SBDP145 in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The forecast and actual 6-month outcomes were compared by logistic regression analysis. The results of the core model itself, as well as serum values of GFAP and CSF levels of SBDP145, showed a significant correlation with the 6-month mortality using a univariate analysis. In the core model, the Nagelkerke R(2) value was 0.214. With multivariate analysis we were able to increase this predictive power with one additional biomarker (GFAP in CSF) to R(2)=0.476, while the application of three biomarker levels (GFAP in CSF, GFAP in serum, and SBDP145 in CSF) increased the Nagelkerke R(2) to 0.700. Our preliminary results underline the importance of biomarkers in outcome prediction, and encourage further investigation to expand the predictive power of contemporary outcome calculators and prognostic models in TBI.
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