Traumatic brain injury (TBI) increases susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease (AD), but it is not known if TBI affects the progression of AD. To address this question, we studied the neuropathological consequences of TBI in transgenic (TG) mice with a mutant human Abeta precursor protein (APP) mini-gene driven by a platelet-derived (PD) growth factor promoter resulting in overexpression of mutant APP (V717F), elevated brain Abeta levels, and AD-like amyloidosis. Since brain Abeta deposits first appear in 6-month-old TG (PDAPP) mice and accumulate with age, 2-year-old PDAPP and wild-type (WT) mice were subjected to controlled cortical impact (CCI) TBI or sham treatment. At 1, 9, and 16 weeks after TBI, neuron loss, gliosis, and atrophy were most prominent near the CCI site in PDAPP and WT mice. However, there also was a remarkable regression in the Abeta amyloid plaque burden in the hippocampus ipsilateral to TBI compared to the contralateral hippocampus of the PDAPP mice by 16 weeks postinjury. Thus, these data suggest that previously accumulated Abeta plaques resulting from progressive amyloidosis in the AD brain also may be reversible.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.