Protein profiling in serum after traumatic brain injury in rats reveals potential injury markers

Behav Brain Res. 2018 Mar 15:340:71-80. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2016.08.058. Epub 2016 Aug 31.


Introduction: The serum proteome following traumatic brain injury (TBI) could provide information for outcome prediction and injury monitoring. The aim with this affinity proteomic study was to identify serum proteins over time and between normoxic and hypoxic conditions in focal TBI.

Material and methods: Sprague Dawley rats (n=73) received a 3mm deep controlled cortical impact ("severe injury"). Following injury, the rats inhaled either a normoxic (22% O2) or hypoxic (11% O2) air mixture for 30min before resuscitation. The rats were sacrificed at day 1, 3, 7, 14 and 28 after trauma. A total of 204 antibodies targeting 143 unique proteins of interest in TBI research, were selected. The sample proteome was analyzed in a suspension bead array set-up. Comparative statistics and factor analysis were used to detect differences as well as variance in the data.

Results: We found that complement factor 9 (C9), complement factor B (CFB) and aldolase c (ALDOC) were detected at higher levels the first days after trauma. In contrast, hypoxia inducing factor (HIF)1α, amyloid precursor protein (APP) and WBSCR17 increased over the subsequent weeks. S100A9 levels were higher in hypoxic-compared to normoxic rats, together with a majority of the analyzed proteins, albeit few reached statistical significance. The principal component analysis revealed a variance in the data, highlighting clusters of proteins.

Conclusions: Protein profiling of serum following TBI using an antibody based microarray revealed temporal changes of several proteins over an extended period of up to four weeks. Further studies are warranted to confirm our findings.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Hypoxia; Protein-array; Serum proteins; Traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / blood*
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / complications
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Hypoxia / blood
  • Hypoxia / complications
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Proteome
  • Proteomics
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Time Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Proteome