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Synthetic Platelets Reduce Neuroinflammation in Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury

Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in many pathologies, one of which being coagulopathy. TBI can progress to hemorrhagic lesions and increased intercranial pressure leading to coagulopathy. The coagulopathy has been linked to poor clinical outcomes and occurs in 60%

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in many pathologies, one of which being coagulopathy. TBI can progress to hemorrhagic lesions and increased intercranial pressure leading to coagulopathy. The coagulopathy has been linked to poor clinical outcomes and occurs in 60% of severe TBI cases. To improve hemostasis, synthetic platelets (SPs) have been repurposed. SPs are composed of a poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-acrylic-acid) microgel, conjugated with a fibrin-specific antibody and are biomimetic in their ability to deform and collapse within a fibrin matrix. The objective of this study is to diminish coagulopathy with a single, intravenous injection of SPs, and subsequently decrease neuropathologies. TBI was modeled in animal cohorts using the well-established controlled cortical impact and SPs were injected 2-3 hours post-injury. Control cohorts received no injection. Brain tissue was harvested at acute (24h) and delayed (7 days) time points post-TBI, and fluorescently imaged to quantify reactive astrocytes (GFAP+), microglial morphology and presence (Iba1+), and tissue lesion spared. SP-treatment resulted in significant reduction of GFAP expression at 7 days post-TBI. Furthermore, SP-treatment significantly reduced the percent difference from 24h to 7 days in microglia/macrophage per field compared to the control. For microglial morphology, SP-treated cohorts observed a significant percent difference in endpoints per soma from 24h to 7 days compared to untreated cohorts. However, microglial branch length significantly decreased in percent difference from 24h to 7 days when compared to the control. Finally, tissue sparing did not significantly decrease between 24h and 7 day for SP-treated cohorts as was observed in untreated cohorts, implying inhibition of delayed necrosis. Overall, these results suggest decreased neuroinflammation by 7 days, supporting SPs as potentially therapeutic post-TBI.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Identifying Novel Nanobodies for Traumatic Brain Injury Therapeutics

Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious health problem around the world with few available treatments. TBI pathology can be divided into two phases: the primary insult and the secondary injury. The primary insult results from the bump or blow

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious health problem around the world with few available treatments. TBI pathology can be divided into two phases: the primary insult and the secondary injury. The primary insult results from the bump or blow to the head that causes the initial injury. Secondary injury lasts from hours to months after the initial injury and worsens the primary insult, creating a greater area of tissue damage and cell death. Many current treatments focus on lessening the severity of secondary injury. Secondary injury results from the cyclical nature of tissue damage. Inflammatory pathways cause damage to tissue, which in turn reinforces inflammation. Since many inflammatory pathways are interconnected, targeting individual products within these pathways is impractical. A target at the beginning of the pathway, such as a receptor, must be chosen to break the cycle. This project aims to identify novel nanobodies that could temporarily inactivate the CD36 receptor, which is a receptor found on many immune and endothelial cells. CD36 initiates and perpetuates the immune system's inflammatory responses. By inactivating this receptor temporarily, inflammation and immune cell entry could be lessened, and therefore secondary injury could be attenuated. This project utilized phage display as a method of nanobody selection. The specific phage library utilized in this experiment consists of human heavy chain (V_H) segments, also known as domain antibodies (dAbs), displayed on M13 filamentous bacteriophage. Phage display mimics the process of immune selection. The target is bound to a well as a means of displaying it to the phage. The phage library is then incubated with the target to allow antibodies to bind. After, the well is washed thoroughly to detach any phage that are not strongly bound. The remaining phage are then amplified in bacteria and run again through the same assay to select for mutations that resulted in higher affinity binding. This process, called biopanning, was performed three times for this project. After biopanning, the library was sequenced using Next Generation sequencing (NGS). This platform enables the entire library to be sequenced, as opposed to traditional Sanger sequencing, which can only sequence single select clones at a time thereby limiting population sampling. This type of genetic sequencing allows trends in the complementarity determining regions (CDRs) of the domain antibody library to be analyzed, using bioinformatics programs such as RStudio, FastAptamer, and Swiss Model. Ultimately, two nanobody candidates were identified for the CD36 receptor.

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2018-05

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Pharmacologic Modulation of the Blood-Brain Barrier

Description

One of the most prominent biological challenges for the field of drug delivery is the blood-brain barrier. This physiological system blocks the entry of or actively removes almost all small molecules into the central nervous system (CNS), including many drugs

One of the most prominent biological challenges for the field of drug delivery is the blood-brain barrier. This physiological system blocks the entry of or actively removes almost all small molecules into the central nervous system (CNS), including many drugs that could be used to treat diseases in the CNS. Previous studies have shown that activation of the adenosine receptor signaling pathway through the use of agonists has been demonstrated to increase BBB permeability. For example, regadenoson is an adenosine A2A receptor agonist that has been shown to disrupt the BBB and allow for increased drug uptake in the CNS. The goal of this study was to verify this property of regadenoson. We hypothesized that co-administration of regadenoson with a non-brain penetrant macromolecule would facilitate its entry into the central nervous system. To test this hypothesis, healthy mice were administered regadenoson or saline concomitantly with a fluorescent dextran solution. The brain tissue was either homogenized to measure quantity of fluorescent molecule, or cryosectioned for imaging with confocal fluorescence microscopy. These experiments did not identify any significant difference in the amount of fluorescence detected in the brain after regadenoson treatment. These results contradict those of previous studies and highlight potential differences in injection methodology, time windows, and properties of brain impermeant molecules.

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Date Created
2015-05

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Investigating the Effect of a Hyaluronic Acid-Laminin Hydrogel on Inflammation After Traumatic Brain Injury

Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death in individuals under the age of 45, resulting in over 50,000 deaths each year. Over 80,000 TBI patients report long-term deficits consisting of motor or cognitive dysfunctions due to TBI

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death in individuals under the age of 45, resulting in over 50,000 deaths each year. Over 80,000 TBI patients report long-term deficits consisting of motor or cognitive dysfunctions due to TBI pathophysiology. The biochemical secondary injury triggers a harmful inflammatory cascade, gliosis, and astrocyte activation surrounding the injury lesion, and no current treatments exist to alleviate these underlying pathologies. In order to mitigate the negative inflammatory effects of the secondary injury, we created a hydrogel comprised of hyaluronic acid (HA) and laminin, and we hypothesized that the anti-inflammatory properties of HA will decrease astrocyte activation and inflammation after TBI. C57/BL6 mice were subjected to mild-to-moderate CCI. Three days following injury, mice were treated with injection of vehicle or HA-Laminin hydrogel. Mice were sacrificed at three and seven days post injection and analyzed for astrocyte and inflammatory responses. In mice treated with vehicle injections, astrocyte activation was significantly increased at three days post-transplantation in the injured cortex and injury lesion. However, mice treated with the HA-Laminin hydrogel experienced significantly reduced acute astrocyte activation at the injury site three days post transplantation. Interestingly, there were no significant differences in astrocyte activation at seven days post treatment in either group. Although the microglial and macrophage response remains to be investigated, our data suggest that the HA-Laminin hydrogel demonstrates potential for TBI therapeutics targeting inflammation, including acute modulation of the astrocyte, microglia, and macrophage response to TBI.

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Date Created
2016-05

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The Effect of Nanoparticle Diameter on TAT-mediated Delivery to the CNS In Vivo

Description

Neurological disorders are difficult to treat with current drug delivery methods due to their inefficiency and the lack of knowledge of the mechanisms behind drug delivery across the blood brain barrier (BBB). Nanoparticles (NPs) are a promising drug delivery method

Neurological disorders are difficult to treat with current drug delivery methods due to their inefficiency and the lack of knowledge of the mechanisms behind drug delivery across the blood brain barrier (BBB). Nanoparticles (NPs) are a promising drug delivery method due to their biocompatibility and ability to be modified by cell penetrating peptides, such as transactivating transciptor (TAT) peptide, which has been shown to increase efficiency of delivery. There are multiple proposed mechanisms of TAT-mediated delivery that also have size restrictions on the molecules that can undergo each BBB crossing mechanism. The effect of nanoparticle size on TAT-mediated delivery in vivo is an important aspect to research in order to better understand the delivery mechanisms and to create more efficient NPs. NPs called FluoSpheres are used because they come in defined diameters unlike polymeric NPs that have a broad distribution of diameters. Both modified and unmodified 100nm and 200nm NPs were able to bypass the BBB and were seen in the brain, spinal cord, liver, and spleen using confocal microscopy and a biodistribution study. Statistically significant differences in delivery rate of the different sized NPs or between TAT-modified and unmodified NPs were not found. Therefore in future work a larger range of diameter size will be evaluated. Also the unmodified NPs will be conjugated with scrambled peptide to ensure that both unmodified and TAT-modified NPs are prepared in identical fashion to better understand the role of size on TAT targeting. Although all the NPs were able to bypass the BBB, future work will hopefully provide a better representation of how NP size effects the rate of TAT-mediated delivery to the CNS.

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Date Created
2016-05

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Enhancing CXCR4 expression of hNPCs using Hyaluronic Acid - Laminin Hydrogel: A Potential Treatment for TBI

Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may result in numerous pathologies that cannot currently be mitigated by clinical interventions. Stem cell therapies are widely researched to address TBI-related pathologies with limited success in pre-clinical models due to limitations in transplant survival rates.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may result in numerous pathologies that cannot currently be mitigated by clinical interventions. Stem cell therapies are widely researched to address TBI-related pathologies with limited success in pre-clinical models due to limitations in transplant survival rates. To address this issue, the use of tissue engineered scaffolds as a delivery mechanism has been explored to improve survival and engraftment rates. Previous work with hyaluronic acid \u2014 laminin (HA-Lm) gels found high viability and engraftment rates of mouse fetal derived neural progenitor/stem cells (NPSCs) cultured on the gel. Furthermore, NPSCs exposed to the HA-Lm gels exhibit increased expression of CXCR4, a critical surface receptor that promotes cell migration. We hypothesized that culturing hNPCs on the HA-Lm gel would increase CXCR4 expression, and thus enhance their ability to migrate into sites of tissue damage. In order to test this hypothesis, we designed gel scaffolds with mechanical properties that were optimized to match that of the natural extracellular matrix. A live/dead assay showed that hNPCs preferred the gel with this optimized formulation, compared to a stiffer gel that was used in the CXCR4 expression experiment. We found that there may be increased CXCR4 expression of hNPCs plated on the HA-Lm gel after 24 hours, indicating that HA-Lm gels may provide a valuable scaffold to support viability and migration of hNPCs to the injury site. Future studies aimed at verifying increased CXCR4 expression of hNPCs cultured on HA-Lm gels are necessary to determine if HA-Lm gels can provide a beneficial scaffold for stem cell engraftment therapy for treating TBI.

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Date Created
2016-05

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Utilization of Nanoparticles for Identifying Fibrin Deposition in Neural Tissue

Description

The main objective of this research is to develop and characterize a targeted contrast agent that will recognize acute neural injury pathology (i.e. fibrin) after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Single chain fragment variable antibodies (scFv) that bind specifically to fibrin

The main objective of this research is to develop and characterize a targeted contrast agent that will recognize acute neural injury pathology (i.e. fibrin) after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Single chain fragment variable antibodies (scFv) that bind specifically to fibrin have been produced and purified. DSPE-PEG micelles have been produced and the scFv has been conjugated to the surface of the micelles; this nanoparticle system will be used to overcome limitations in diagnosing TBI. The binding and imaging properties will be analyzed in the future to determine functionality of the nanoparticle system in vivo.

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Date Created
2014-05

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The Effect of VEGF-ECM Crosstalk on Neural Stem Cell Behavior

Description

The endogenous response of neural stem cell/progenitor (NPSC) recruitment to the brain injury environment following a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is currently under heavy investigation. Mechanisms controlling NPSC proliferation and migration to the brain injury environment remain unclear; however, it

The endogenous response of neural stem cell/progenitor (NPSC) recruitment to the brain injury environment following a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is currently under heavy investigation. Mechanisms controlling NPSC proliferation and migration to the brain injury environment remain unclear; however, it is thought that the vascular extracellular matrix proteins (e.g. laminin, fibronectin, and vitronectin) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) play a role in mediating NPSC behavior through vasophillic interactions. This project attempts to uncover potential VEGF-ECM crosstalk in mediating migration and proliferation. To investigate migration, neurospheres were seeded on ECM-coated wells supplemented with VEGF and without VEGF, and neural outgrowth was measured at days 0, 1, 3, and 8 using differential interference contrast microscopy. Furthermore, single-cell NPSCs were seeded on ECM-coated Transwell membranes with VEGF supplemented media on one side and without VEGF to look at chemotactic migration. Migrated NPSCs were visualized with DAPI nuclear stain and imaged with an inverted fluorescent microscope. To investigate NPSC proliferation, NPSCs were seeded on ECM coated plates as in the radial migration assay and visualized with EdU on day 8. Total proliferation was measured by seeding NPSCs on ECM coated 96-well plates and incubating them with MTT on days 3 and 6. Proliferation was measured using a spectrophotometer at 630nm and 570nm wavelengths. It was found that VEGF-laminin crosstalk synergistically increased radial migration, but may not play a role in chemotactic migration. Understanding the mechanisms behind VEGF-laminin crosstalk in NPSC proliferation and migration may provide crucial information for the design of stem cell transplantation therapies in the future.

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Date Created
2015-05

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Evaluation of tSNE and FlowSOM unsupervised analysis in mouse blood flow cytometry data after an inflammatory challenge

Description

Traumatic brain injury involves a primary mechanical injury that is followed by a secondary<br/>inflammatory cascade. The inflammatory cascade in the CNS releases cytokines which are<br/>associated with leukocytosis and a systemic immune response. Acute changes to peripheral<br/>immune cell populations post-TBI include

Traumatic brain injury involves a primary mechanical injury that is followed by a secondary<br/>inflammatory cascade. The inflammatory cascade in the CNS releases cytokines which are<br/>associated with leukocytosis and a systemic immune response. Acute changes to peripheral<br/>immune cell populations post-TBI include a 4.5-fold increase of neutrophils 3 hours post-injury,<br/>and 2.7-fold or higher increase of monocytes 24 hours post-injury. Flow Cytometry is a<br/>technique that integrates fluidics, optics, and electronics to characterize cells based on their light<br/>scatter and antigen expression via monoclonal antibodies conjugated to fluorochromes. Flow<br/>cytometry is a valuable tool in cell characterization however the standard technique for data<br/>analysis, manual gating, is associated with inefficiency, subjectivity, and irreproducibility.<br/>Unsupervised analysis that uses algorithms packaged as plug-ins for flow cytometry analysis<br/>software has been discussed as a solution to the limits of manual gating and as an alternative<br/>method of data visualization and exploration. This investigation evaluated the use of tSNE<br/>(dimensionality reduction algorithm) and FlowSOM (population clustering algorithm)<br/>unsupervised flow cytometry analysis of immune cell population changes in female mice that<br/>have been exposed to a LPS-induced systemic inflammatory challenge, results were compared to<br/>those of manual gating. Flow cytometry data was obtained from blood samples taken prior to and<br/>24 hours after LPS injection. Unsupervised analysis was able to identify populations of<br/>neutrophils and pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory monocytes, it also identified several more<br/>populations however further inquiry with a more specific fluorescent panel would be required to<br/>establish the specificity and validity of these populations. Unsupervised analysis with tSNE and<br/>FlowSOM demonstrated the efficient and intuitive nature of the technique, however it also<br/>illustrated the importance of the investigator in preparing data and modulating plug-in settings.

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Date Created
2021-05

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Evaluation of a Novel HDACi-Loaded Nanoparticle Therapy for the Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury

Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of disability, with approximately 1.7 million incidents reported annually. Following a TBI, patients are likely to sustain sensorimotor and cognitive impairments and are at an increased risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases later

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of disability, with approximately 1.7 million incidents reported annually. Following a TBI, patients are likely to sustain sensorimotor and cognitive impairments and are at an increased risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases later in life. Despite this, robust therapies that treat TBI neuropathology are not available in the clinic. One emerging therapeutic approach is to target epigenetic mediators that modulate a variety of molecular regulatory events acutely following injury. Specifically, previous studies demonstrated that histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) administration following TBI reduced inflammation, enhanced functional outcomes, and was neuroprotective. Here, we evaluated a novel quisinostat-loaded PLA-PEG nanoparticle (QNP) therapy in treating TBI as modeled by a controlled cortical impact. We evaluated initial pharmacodynamics within the injured cortex via histone acetylation levels following QNP treatment. We observed that QNP administration acutely following injury increased histone acetylation specifically within the injury penumbra, as detected by Western blot analysis. Given this effect, we evaluated QNP therapeutic efficacy. We observed that QNP treatment dampened motor deficits as measured by increased rotarod latency to fall relative to blank nanoparticle- and saline-treated controls. Additionally, open field results show that QNP treatment altered locomotion following injury. These results suggest that HDACi therapies are a beneficial therapeutic strategy following neural injury and demonstrate the utility for nanoparticle formulations as a mode for HDACi delivery following TBI.

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Date Created
2019-05