Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a global problem reaching near epidemic numbers that manifests clinically with cognitive problems that decades later may result in dementias like Alzheimer's disease (AD). Presently, little can be done to prevent ensuing neurological dysfunctions by pharmacological means. Recently, it has become apparent that several CNS diseases share common terminal features of neuronal cell death. The effects of exendin-4 (Ex-4), a neuroprotective agent delivered via a subcutaneous micro-osmotic pump, were examined in the setting of mild TBI (mTBI). Utilizing a model of mTBI, where cognitive disturbances occur over time, animals were subjected to four treatments: sham; Ex-4; mTBI and Ex-4/mTBI. mTBI mice displayed deficits in novel object recognition, while Ex-4/mTBI mice performed similar to sham. Hippocampal gene expression, assessed by gene array methods, showed significant differences with little overlap in co-regulated genes between groups. Importantly, changes in gene expression induced by mTBI, including genes associated with AD were largely prevented by Ex-4. These data suggest a strong beneficial action of Ex-4 in managing secondary events induced by a traumatic brain injury.
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