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White Matter Integrity After Traumatic Brain Injury: Corpus Callosum

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Abstract White matter thickness correlates with various mental illness. Commissure white matter tracts are responsible for interconnecting the same cortical area in both hemispheres. Injury to the brain can result

Abstract White matter thickness correlates with various mental illness. Commissure white matter tracts are responsible for interconnecting the same cortical area in both hemispheres. Injury to the brain can result in thinning and shrinkage even collapsing and detachment of the white matter tracts' myelin sheaths. Injury can affect cognitive function and time points are essential for therapeutic intervention. Research is beginning to identify gradual long-term neurodegenerative effects. With the advancement of brain imaging technology, we know that Wallerian degeneration has a significant negative impact on the white matter tracts throughout the brain (Johnson, Stewart, & Smith, 2013). If major tracts become injured like, the corpus callosum, then it can affect interhemispheric communication. Once myelin is damaged the axon becomes vulnerable, and the mechanisms of nerve recovery are not well known. Myelin sheath recovery has been studied in hopes to proliferate the oligodendrocytes that make up for the atrophied myelin. Neurotoxic chemicals released at activation of macrophages which hinders the brains ability to proliferate myelin protein needed for myelin differentiation adequately. In the central nervous system myelin has mechanisms to recover. Neurogenesis is a naturally occurring recovery mechanism seen after brain injury. Understanding the time points in which brain recovery occurs is important for treatment of diffuse injuries that cannot be identified through some imaging techniques. To better understand critical timepoints of natural recovery after brain injury can allow further investigation for early intervention to promote adequate recovery.

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  • 2018-12

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Practical therapies for diffuse traumatic brain injury in the mouse: translational considerations

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Approximately 2.8 million Americans seek medical care for traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Of this population, the majority are sufferers of diffuse TBI, or concussion. It is unknown how

Approximately 2.8 million Americans seek medical care for traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Of this population, the majority are sufferers of diffuse TBI, or concussion. It is unknown how many more individuals decline to seek medical care following mild TBI. This likely sizeable population of un- or self-treated individuals combined with a lack of definitive biomarkers or objective post-injury diagnostics creates a unique need for practical therapies among diffuse TBI sufferers. Practical therapies stand to decrease the burden of TBI among those who would otherwise not seek treatment or do not meet clinical diagnostic criteria upon examination. For this unique treatment niche, practical therapies for TBI are defined as having one or more of the following qualities: common availability, easy administration, excellent safety profile, and cost-effectiveness. This dissertation identifies and critically examines the efficacy of four classes of practical treatments in improving rodent outcome from experimental diffuse traumatic brain injury.

Over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics, omega-3 fatty acids, specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs), and remote ischemic conditioning (RIC) were administered before or following midline fluid percussion injury. Behavioral, histological, and molecular analyses were used to assess treatment effects on functional outcome and secondary injury progression. Acute administration of common OTC analgesics had little effect on post-injury outcome in mice. Dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) prior to or following diffuse TBI significantly reduced injury-induced sensory sensitivity and markers of neuroinflammation with no effect on spatial learning. Intraperitoneal administration of omega-3 fatty acid-derived SPM resolvin E1 significantly increased post-injury sleep and suppressed microglial activation. Aspirin-triggered (AT) resolvin D1 administration improved both motor and cognitive outcome following diffuse TBI. RIC treatment in mice demonstrated little effect on functional outcome from diffuse TBI. Untargeted proteomic analysis of plasma samples from RIC-treated mice was used to identify candidate molecular correlates of RIC. Identification of these candidates represents a vital first step in elucidating the neuroprotective mechanisms underlying RIC. The overall findings suggest that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, SPM administration, and RIC may serve as effective practical therapies to reduce the somatic, cognitive, and neurological burden of diffuse TBI felt by millions of Americans.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Modulation of sensing and sharing food-related information in the honey bee

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Food is an essential driver of animal behavior. For social organisms, the acquisition of food guides interactions with the environment and with group-mates. Studies have focused on how social individuals

Food is an essential driver of animal behavior. For social organisms, the acquisition of food guides interactions with the environment and with group-mates. Studies have focused on how social individuals find and choose food sources, and share both food and information with group-mates. However, it is often not clear how experiences throughout an individual's life influence such interactions. The core question of this thesis is how individuals’ experience contributes to within-caste behavioral variation in a social group. I investigate the effects of individual history, including physical injury and food-related experience, on individuals' social food sharing behavior, responses to food-related stimuli, and the associated neural biogenic amine signaling pathways. I use the eusocial honey bee (Apis mellifera) system, one in which individuals exhibit a high degree of plasticity in responses to environmental stimuli and there is a richness of communicatory pathways for food-related information. Foraging exposes honey bees to aversive experiences such as predation, con-specific competition, and environmental toxins. I show that foraging experience changes individuals' response thresholds to sucrose, a main component of adults’ diets, depending on whether foraging conditions are benign or aversive. Bodily injury is demonstrated to reduce individuals' appetitive responses to new, potentially food-predictive odors. Aversive conditions also impact an individual's social food sharing behavior; mouth-to-mouse trophallaxis with particular groupmates is modulated by aversive foraging conditions both for foragers who directly experienced these conditions and non-foragers who were influenced via social contact with foragers. Although the mechanisms underlying these behavioral changes have yet to be resolved, my results implicate biogenic amine signaling pathways as a potential component. Serotonin and octopamine concentrations are shown to undergo long-term change due to distinct foraging experiences. My work serves to highlight the malleability of a social individual's food-related behavior, suggesting that environmental conditions shape how individuals respond to food and share information with group-mates. This thesis contributes to a deeper understanding of inter-individual variation in animal behavior.

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  • 2017