Neurogenesis and glial proliferation are stimulated following diffuse traumatic brain injury in adult rats

J Neurosci Res. 2011 Jul;89(7):986-1000. doi: 10.1002/jnr.22635. Epub 2011 Apr 12.


Although increased neurogenesis has been described in rodent models of focal traumatic brain injury (TBI), the neurogenic response occurring after diffuse TBI uncomplicated by focal injury has not been examined to date, despite the pervasiveness of this distinct type of brain injury in the TBI patient population. Here we characterize multiple stages of neurogenesis following a traumatic axonal injury (TAI) model of diffuse TBI as well as the proliferative response of glial cells. TAI was induced in adult rats using an impact-acceleration model, and 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) was administered on days 1-4 posttrauma or sham operation to label mitotic cells. Using immunohistochemistry for BrdU combined with phenotype-specific markers, we found that proliferation was increased following TAI in the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles and in the hippocampal subgranular zone, although the ultimate production of new dentate granule neurons at 8 weeks was not significantly enhanced. Also, abundant proliferating and reactive astrocytes, microglia, and polydendrocytes were detected throughout the brain following TAI, indicating that a robust glial response occurs in this model, although very few new cells in the nonneurogenic brain regions became mature neurons. We conclude that diffuse brain injury stimulates early stages of a neurogenic response similar to that described for models of focal TBI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gliosis / etiology
  • Gliosis / pathology
  • Male
  • Microglia / cytology
  • Microglia / pathology*
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley