Therapeutic targeting of the axonal and microvascular change associated with repetitive mild traumatic brain injury

J Neurotrauma. 2013 Oct 1;30(19):1664-71. doi: 10.1089/neu.2013.2995. Epub 2013 Aug 27.


Recent interest in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) has increased the recognition that repetitive mTBI occurring within the sports and military settings can exacerbate the adverse consequences of the initial injury. While multiple studies have recently reported the pathological, metabolic, and functional changes associated with repetitive mTBI, no consideration has been given to the development of therapeutic approaches to attenuate these abnormalities. In this study, we used the model of repetitive impact acceleration insult previously reported by our laboratory to cause no initial structural and functional changes, yet evoke dramatic change following second insult of the same intensity. Using this model, we employed established neuroprotective agents including FK506 and hypothermia that were administered 1 h after the second insult. Following either therapeutic intervention, changes of cerebral vascular reactivity to acetylcholine were assessed through a cranial window. Following the completion of the vascular studies, the animals were prepared to access the numbers of amyloid precursor protein (APP) positive axons, a marker of axonal damage. Following repetitive injury, cerebral vascular reactivity was dramatically preserved by either therapeutic intervention or the combination thereof compared to control group in which no intervention was employed. Similarly, APP density was significantly lower in the therapeutic intervention group compared in controls. Although the individual use of FK506 or hypothermia exerted significant protection, no additive benefit was found when both therapies were combined. In sum, the current study demonstrates that the exacerbated pathophysiological changes associated with repetitive mTBI can be therapeutically targeted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / biosynthesis
  • Animals
  • Axons / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries / drug therapy
  • Brain Injuries / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Brain Injuries / therapy
  • Capillaries / pathology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Hypothermia, Induced
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Tacrolimus / therapeutic use


  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Tacrolimus