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Repetitive mild traumatic brain injury induces ventriculomegaly and cortical thinning in juvenile rats

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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) most frequently occurs in pediatric patients and remains a leading cause of childhood death and disability. Mild TBI (mTBI) accounts for 70-90% of all TBI cases,

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) most frequently occurs in pediatric patients and remains a leading cause of childhood death and disability. Mild TBI (mTBI) accounts for 70-90% of all TBI cases, yet its neuropathophysiology is still poorly understood. While a single mTBI injury can lead to persistent deficits, repeat injuries increase the severity and duration of both acute symptoms and long term deficits. In this study, to model pediatric repetitive mTBI (rmTBI) we subjected unrestrained juvenile animals (post-natal day 20) to repeat weight drop impact. Animals were anesthetized and subjected to sham or rmTBI once per day for 5 days. At 14 days post injury (PID), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed that rmTBI animals displayed marked cortical atrophy and ventriculomegaly. Specifically, the thickness of the cortex was reduced up to 46% beneath and the ventricles increased up to 970% beneath the impact zone. Immunostaining with the neuron specific marker NeuN revealed an overall loss of neurons within the motor cortex but no change in neuronal density. Examination of intrinsic and synaptic properties of layer II/III pyramidal neurons revealed no significant difference between sham and rmTBI animals at rest or under convulsant challenge with the potassium channel blocker, 4-Aminophyridine. Overall, our findings indicate that the neuropathological changes reported after pediatric rmTBI can be effectively modeled by repeat weight drop in juvenile animals. Developing a better understanding of how rmTBI alters the pediatric brain may help improve patient care and direct "return to game" decision making in adolescents.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Novel protein delivery platforms to modulate SDF-1a/CXCR4 signaling in the adult cortex

Description

Stromal cell-derived factor-1α (SDF-1α) and its key receptor, CXCR4 are ubiquitously expressed in systems across the body (e.g. liver, skin, lung, etc.). This signaling axis regulates a myriad of physiological

Stromal cell-derived factor-1α (SDF-1α) and its key receptor, CXCR4 are ubiquitously expressed in systems across the body (e.g. liver, skin, lung, etc.). This signaling axis regulates a myriad of physiological processes that range from maintaining of organ homeostasis in adults to, chemotaxis of stem/progenitor and immune cell types after injury. Given its potential role as a therapeutic target for diverse applications, surprisingly little is known about how SDF-1α mediated signaling propagates through native tissues. This limitation ultimately constrains rational design of interventional biomaterials that aim to target the SDF-1α/CXCR4 signaling axis. One application of particular interest is traumatic brain injury (TBI) for which, there are currently no means of targeting the underlying biochemical pathology to improve prognosis.

Growing evidence suggests a relationship between SDF-1α/CXCR4 signaling and endogenous neural progenitor/stem cells (NPSC)-mediated regeneration after neural injury. Long-term modulation of the SDF-1α/CXCR4 signaling axis is thus hypothesized as a possible avenue for harnessing and amplifying endogenous regenerative mechanisms after TBI. In order to understand how the SDF-1α/CXCR4 signaling can be modulated in vivo, we first developed and characterized a sustained protein delivery platform in vitro. We were the first, to our knowledge, to demonstrate that protein release profiles from poly(D,L,-lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) particles can be tuned independent of particle fabrication parameters via centrifugal fractioning. This process of physically separating the particles altered the average diameter of a particle population, which is in turn was correlated to critical release characteristics. Secondly, we demonstrated sustained release of SDF-1α from PLGA/fibrin composites (particles embedded in fibrin) with tunable burst release as a function of fibrin concentration. Finally, we contrasted the spatiotemporal localization of endogenous SDF-1α and CXCR4 expression in response to either bolus or sustained release of exogenous SDF-1α. Sustained release of exogenous SDF-1α induced spatially diffuse endogenous SDF-1/CXCR4 expression relative to bolus SDF-1 administration; however, the observed effects were transient in both cases, persisting only to a maximum of 3 days post injection. These studies will inform future systematic evaluations of strategies that exploit SDF-1α/CXCR4 signaling for diverse applications.

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Date Created
  • 2016