Traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects at least 3 M people annually. In humans, repetitive mild TBI (rmTBI) can lead to increased impulsivity and may be associated with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. To better understand the relationship between repetitive TBI (rTBI), impulsivity and neuropathology, we used CHIMERA (Closed-Head Injury Model of Engineered Rotational Acceleration) to deliver five TBIs to rats, which were continuously assessed for trait impulsivity using the delay discounting task and for neuropathology at endpoint. Compared to sham controls, rats with rTBI displayed progressive impairment in impulsive choice. Histological analyses revealed reduced dopaminergic innervation from the ventral tegmental area to the olfactory tubercle, consistent with altered impulsivity neurocircuitry. Consistent with diffuse axonal injury generated by CHIMERA, white matter inflammation, tau immunoreactivity and degeneration were observed in the optic tract and corpus callosum. Finally, pronounced grey matter microgliosis was observed in the olfactory tubercle. Our results provide insight into the mechanisms by which rTBI leads to post-traumatic psychiatric-like symptoms in a novel rat TBI platform.
Keywords: CHIMERA; Corpus callosum degeneration; Impulsivity; Repetitive TBI; Reward circuitry; Tau phosphorylation; White matter inflammation.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.