Repeated Closed Head Injury in Mice Results in Sustained Motor and Memory Deficits and Chronic Cellular Changes

PLoS One. 2016 Jul 18;11(7):e0159442. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159442. eCollection 2016.


Millions of mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur every year in the United States, with many people subject to multiple head injuries that can lead to chronic behavioral dysfunction. We previously reported that mild TBI induced using closed head injuries (CHI) repeated at 24h intervals produced more acute neuron death and glial reactivity than a single CHI, and increasing the length of time between injuries to 48h reduced the cumulative acute effects of repeated CHI. To determine whether repeated CHI is associated with behavioral dysfunction or persistent cellular damage, mice receiving either five CHI at 24h intervals, five CHI at 48h intervals, or five sham injuries at 24h intervals were evaluated across a 10 week period after injury. Animals with repeated CHI exhibited motor coordination and memory deficits, but not gait abnormalities when compared to sham animals. At 10wks post-injury, no notable neuron loss or glial reactivity was observed in the cortex, hippocampus, or corpus callosum. Argyrophilic axons were found in the pyramidal tract of some injured animals, but neither silver stain accumulation nor inflammatory responses in the injury groups were statistically different from the sham group in this region. However, argyrophilic axons, microgliosis and astrogliosis were significantly increased within the optic tract of injured animals. Repeated mild CHI also resulted in microgliosis and a loss of neurofilament protein 200 in the optic nerve. Lengthening the inter-injury interval from 24h to 48h did not effectively reduce these behavioral or cellular responses. These results suggest that repeated mild CHI results in persistent behavioral dysfunction and chronic pathological changes within the visual system, neither of which was significantly attenuated by lengthening the inter-injury interval from 24h to 48h.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Concussion / metabolism
  • Brain Concussion / pathology
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Corpus Callosum / metabolism
  • Corpus Callosum / pathology
  • Corpus Callosum / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression
  • Gliosis / metabolism
  • Gliosis / pathology
  • Gliosis / physiopathology
  • Head Injuries, Closed / metabolism
  • Head Injuries, Closed / pathology
  • Head Injuries, Closed / physiopathology*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / metabolism
  • Memory Disorders / pathology
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neurofilament Proteins / genetics
  • Neurofilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neuroglia / pathology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Optic Nerve / metabolism
  • Optic Nerve / pathology
  • Optic Nerve / physiopathology
  • Optic Tract / metabolism
  • Optic Tract / pathology
  • Optic Tract / physiopathology
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Pyramidal Tracts / metabolism
  • Pyramidal Tracts / pathology
  • Pyramidal Tracts / physiopathology


  • Neurofilament Proteins
  • neurofilament protein H