Traumatic Axonal Injury: Mechanisms and Translational Opportunities

Trends Neurosci. 2016 May;39(5):311-324. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2016.03.002. Epub 2016 Mar 31.


Traumatic axonal injury (TAI) is an important pathoanatomical subgroup of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and a major driver of mortality and functional impairment. Experimental models have provided insights into the effects of mechanical deformation on the neuronal cytoskeleton and the subsequent processes that drive axonal injury. There is also increasing recognition that axonal or white matter loss may progress for years post-injury and represent one mechanistic framework for progressive neurodegeneration after TBI. Previous trials of novel therapies have failed to make an impact on clinical outcome, in both TBI in general and TAI in particular. Recent advances in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of injury have the potential to translate into novel therapeutic targets.

Keywords: axon; brain; degeneration; injury; therapeutics; traumatic.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans