A roadmap of brain recovery in a mouse model of concussion: insights from neuroimaging

Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2021 Jan 6;9(1):2. doi: 10.1186/s40478-020-01098-y.

Abstract

Concussion or mild traumatic brain injury is the most common form of traumatic brain injury with potentially long-term consequences. Current objective diagnosis and treatment options are limited to clinical assessment, cognitive rest, and symptom management, which raises the real danger of concussed patients being released back into activities where subsequent and cumulative injuries may cause disproportionate damages. This study conducted a cross-sectional multi-modal examination investigation of the temporal changes in behavioural and brain changes in a mouse model of concussion using magnetic resonance imaging. Sham and concussed mice were assessed at day 2, day 7, and day 14 post-sham or injury procedures following a single concussion event for motor deficits, psychological symptoms with open field assessment, T2-weighted structural imaging, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), neurite orientation density dispersion imaging (NODDI), stimulus-evoked and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Overall, a mismatch in the temporal onsets and durations of the behavioural symptoms and structural/functional changes in the brain was seen. Deficits in behaviour persisted until day 7 post-concussion but recovered at day 14 post-concussion. DTI and NODDI changes were most extensive at day 7 and persisted in some regions at day 14 post-concussion. A persistent increase in connectivity was seen at day 2 and day 14 on rsfMRI. Stimulus-invoked fMRI detected increased cortical activation at day 7 and 14 post-concussion. Our results demonstrate the capabilities of advanced MRI in detecting the effects of a single concussive impact in the brain, and highlight a mismatch in the onset and temporal evolution of behaviour, structure, and function after a concussion. These results have significant translational impact in developing methods for the detection of human concussion and the time course of brain recovery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't