Subacute cytokine changes after a traumatic brain injury predict chronic brain microstructural alterations on advanced diffusion imaging in the male rat.

Vinh To, Xuan; Mohamed, Abdalla Z; Cumming, Paul; Nasrallah, Fatima A (2022). Subacute cytokine changes after a traumatic brain injury predict chronic brain microstructural alterations on advanced diffusion imaging in the male rat. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 102, pp. 137-150. Elsevier 10.1016/j.bbi.2022.02.017

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The process of neuroinflammation occurring after traumatic brain injury (TBI) has received significant attention as a potential prognostic indicator and interventional target to improve patients' outcomes. Indeed, many of the secondary consequences of TBI have been attributed to neuroinflammation and peripheral inflammatory changes. However, inflammatory biomarkers in blood have not yet emerged as a clinical tool for diagnosis of TBI and predicting outcome. The controlled cortical impact model of TBI in the rodent gives reliable readouts of the dynamics of post-TBI neuroinflammation. We now extend this model to include a panel of plasma cytokine biomarkers measured at different time points post-injury, to test the hypothesis that these markers can predict brain microstructural outcome as quantified by advanced diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


Fourteen 8-10-week-old male rats were randomly assigned to sham surgery (n = 6) and TBI (n = 8) treatment with a single moderate-severe controlled cortical impact. We collected blood samples for cytokine analysis at days 1, 3, 7, and 60 post-surgery, and carried out standard structural and advanced diffusion-weighted MRI at day 60. We then utilized principal component regression to build an equation predicting different aspects of microstructural changes from the plasma inflammatory marker concentrations measured at different time points.


The TBI group had elevated plasma levels of IL-1 β and several neuroprotective cytokines and chemokines (IL-7, CCL3, and GM-CSF) compared to the sham group from days 3 to 60 post-injury. The plasma marker panels obtained at day 7 were significantly associated with the outcome at day 60 of the trans-hemispheric cortical map transfer process that is a frequent finding in unilateral TBI models.


These results confirm and extend prior studies showing that day 7 post-injury is a critical temporal window for the reorganisation process following TBI. High plasma level of IL-1 β and low plasma levels of the neuroprotective IL-7, CCL3, and GM-CSF of TBI animals at day 60 were associated with greater TBI pathology.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Clinic of Nuclear Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Cumming, Paul


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








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Date Deposited:

22 Feb 2022 11:59

Last Modified:

11 Apr 2022 00:13

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

Controlled cortical impact Cytokines Diffusion-weighted Magnetic resonance imaging Neuroinflammation Plasma markers Trans-hemispheric cortical map transfer Traumatic brain injury




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