A single mild juvenile TBI in male mice leads to regional brain tissue abnormalities at 12 months of age that correlate with cognitive impairment at the middle age.
acta neuropathol commun. 2023-03-01; 11(1):
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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has the highest incidence amongst the pediatric population and its mild severity represents the most frequent cases. Moderate and severe injuries as well as repetitive mild TBI result in lasting morbidity. However, whether a single mild TBI sustained during childhood can produce long-lasting modifications within the brain is still debated. We aimed to assess the consequences of a single juvenile mild TBI (jmTBI) at 12 months post-injury in a mouse model. Non-invasive diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) revealed significant microstructural alterations in the hippocampus and the in the substantia innominata/nucleus basalis (SI/NB), structures known to be involved in spatial learning and memory. DTI changes paralled neuronal loss, increased astrocytic AQP4 and microglial activation in the hippocampus. In contrast, decreased astrocytic AQP4 expression and microglia activation were observed in SI/NB. Spatial learning and memory were impaired and correlated with alterations in DTI-derived derived fractional ansiotropy (FA) and axial diffusivity (AD). This study found that a single juvenile mild TBI leads to significant region-specific DTI microstructural alterations, distant from the site of impact, that correlated with cognitive discriminative novel object testing and spatial memory impairments at 12 months after a single concussive injury. Our findings suggest that exposure to jmTBI leads to a chronic abnormality, which confirms the need for continued monitoring of symptoms and the development of long-term treatment strategies to intervene in children with concussions.