Neuroinflammation, myelin and behavior: Temporal patterns following mild traumatic brain injury in mice

PLoS One. 2017 Sep 14;12(9):e0184811. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184811. eCollection 2017.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in white matter injury (WMI) that is associated with neurological deficits. Neuroinflammation originating from microglial activation may participate in WMI and associated disorders. To date, there is little information on the time courses of these events after mild TBI. Therefore we investigated (i) neuroinflammation, (ii) WMI and (iii) behavioral disorders between 6 hours and 3 months after mild TBI. For that purpose, we used experimental mild TBI in mice induced by a controlled cortical impact. (i) For neuroinflammation, IL-1b protein as well as microglial phenotypes, by gene expression for 12 microglial activation markers on isolated CD11b+ cells from brains, were studied after TBI. IL-1b protein was increased at 6 hours and 1 day. TBI induced a mixed population of microglial phenotypes with both pro-inflammatory, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory markers from 6 hours to 3 days post-injury. At 7 days, microglial activation was completely resolved. (ii) Three myelin proteins were assessed after TBI on ipsi- and contralateral corpus callosum, as this structure is enriched in white matter. TBI led to an increase in 2',3'-cyclic-nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase, a marker of immature and mature oligodendrocyte, at 2 days post-injury; a bilateral demyelination, evaluated by myelin basic protein, from 7 days to 3 months post-injury; and an increase in myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein at 6 hours and 3 days post-injury. Transmission electron microscopy study revealed various myelin sheath abnormalities within the corpus callosum at 3 months post-TBI. (iii) TBI led to sensorimotor deficits at 3 days post-TBI, and late cognitive flexibility disorder evidenced by the reversal learning task of the Barnes maze 3 months after injury. These data give an overall invaluable overview of time course of neuroinflammation that could be involved in demyelination and late cognitive disorder over a time-scale of 3 months in a model of mild TBI. This model could help to validate a pharmacological strategy to prevent post-traumatic WMI and behavioral disorders following mild TBI.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Brain Concussion / complications
  • Brain Concussion / immunology*
  • Brain Concussion / metabolism
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • Maze Learning
  • Mice
  • Microglia / immunology*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Myelin Sheath / metabolism
  • Myelin Sheath / pathology*
  • White Matter / pathology*


  • Biomarkers
  • IL1B protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-1beta

Grants and funding

This work was supported by Fondation des Gueules Cassees (VCB; CML); 2013; 2014; 40-2015 ( The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.