Induction of a transmissible tau pathology by traumatic brain injury.
ABSTRACT: Traumatic brain injury is a risk factor for subsequent neurodegenerative disease, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a tauopathy mostly associated with repetitive concussion and blast, but not well recognized as a consequence of severe traumatic brain injury. Here we show that a single severe brain trauma is associated with the emergence of widespread hyperphosphorylated tau pathology in a proportion of humans surviving late after injury. In parallel experimental studies, in a model of severe traumatic brain injury in wild-type mice, we found progressive and widespread tau pathology, replicating the findings in humans. Brain homogenates from these mice, when inoculated into the hippocampus and overlying cerebral cortex of naïve mice, induced widespread tau pathology, synaptic loss, and persistent memory deficits. These data provide evidence that experimental brain trauma induces a self-propagating tau pathology, which can be transmitted between mice, and call for future studies aimed at investigating the potential transmissibility of trauma associated tau pathology in humans.
Project description:Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major environmental risk factor for subsequent development of Alzheimer disease (AD). Pathological features that are common to AD and many tauopathies are neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and neuropil threads composed of hyperphosphorylated tau. Axonal accumulations of total and phospho-tau have been observed within hours to weeks, and intracytoplasmic NFTs have been documented years after severe TBI in humans. We previously reported that controlled cortical impact TBI accelerated tau pathology in young 3xTg-AD mice. Here, we used this TBI mouse model to investigate mechanisms responsible for increased tau phosphorylation and accumulation after brain trauma. We found that TBI resulted in abnormal axonal accumulation of several kinases that phosphorylate tau. Notably, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) was markedly activated in injured axons and colocalized with phospho-tau. We found that moderate reduction of JNK activity (40%) by a peptide inhibitor, D-JNKi1, was sufficient to reduce total and phospho-tau accumulations in axons of these mice with TBI. Longer-term studies will be required to determine whether reducing acute tau pathology proves beneficial in brain trauma.
Project description:Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a progressive tauopathy that occurs as a consequence of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury. We analysed post-mortem brains obtained from a cohort of 85 subjects with histories of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury and found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in 68 subjects: all males, ranging in age from 17 to 98 years (mean 59.5 years), including 64 athletes, 21 military veterans (86% of whom were also athletes) and one individual who engaged in self-injurious head banging behaviour. Eighteen age- and gender-matched individuals without a history of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury served as control subjects. In chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the spectrum of hyperphosphorylated tau pathology ranged in severity from focal perivascular epicentres of neurofibrillary tangles in the frontal neocortex to severe tauopathy affecting widespread brain regions, including the medial temporal lobe, thereby allowing a progressive staging of pathology from stages I-IV. Multifocal axonal varicosities and axonal loss were found in deep cortex and subcortical white matter at all stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. TAR DNA-binding protein 43 immunoreactive inclusions and neurites were also found in 85% of cases, ranging from focal pathology in stages I-III to widespread inclusions and neurites in stage IV. Symptoms in stage I chronic traumatic encephalopathy included headache and loss of attention and concentration. Additional symptoms in stage II included depression, explosivity and short-term memory loss. In stage III, executive dysfunction and cognitive impairment were found, and in stage IV, dementia, word-finding difficulty and aggression were characteristic. Data on athletic exposure were available for 34 American football players; the stage of chronic traumatic encephalopathy correlated with increased duration of football play, survival after football and age at death. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy was the sole diagnosis in 43 cases (63%); eight were also diagnosed with motor neuron disease (12%), seven with Alzheimer's disease (11%), 11 with Lewy body disease (16%) and four with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (6%). There is an ordered and predictable progression of hyperphosphorylated tau abnormalities through the nervous system in chronic traumatic encephalopathy that occurs in conjunction with widespread axonal disruption and loss. The frequent association of chronic traumatic encephalopathy with other neurodegenerative disorders suggests that repetitive brain trauma and hyperphosphorylated tau protein deposition promote the accumulation of other abnormally aggregated proteins including TAR DNA-binding protein 43, amyloid beta protein and alpha-synuclein.
Project description:Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is characterized by acute neurological dysfunction and associated with the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and Alzheimer's disease. We previously showed that cis phosphorylated tau (cis P-tau), but not the trans form, contributes to tau pathology and functional impairment in an animal model of severe TBI. Here we found that in human samples obtained post TBI due to a variety of causes, cis P-tau is induced in cortical axons and cerebrospinal fluid and positively correlates with axonal injury and clinical outcome. Using mouse models of severe or repetitive TBI, we showed that cis P-tau elimination with a specific neutralizing antibody administered immediately or at delayed time points after injury, attenuates the development of neuropathology and brain dysfunction during acute and chronic phases including CTE-like pathology and dysfunction after repetitive TBI. Thus, cis P-tau contributes to short-term and long-term sequelae after TBI, but is effectively neutralized by cis antibody treatment.Induction of the cis form of phosphorylated tau (cis P-tau) has previously been shown to occur in animal models of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and blocking this form of tau using antibody was beneficial in a rodent model of severe TBI. Here the authors show that cis P-tau induction is a feature of several different forms of TBI in humans, and that administration of cis P-tau targeting antibody to rodents reduces or delays pathological features of TBI.
Project description:The misfolding and aggregation of tau protein into neurofibrillary tangles is the main underlying hallmark of tauopathies. Most tauopathies have a sporadic origin and can be associated with multiple risk factors. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been suggested as a risk factor for tauopathies by triggering disease onset and facilitating its progression. Several studies indicate that TBI seems to be a risk factor to development of Alzheimer disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, because there is a relationship of TBI severity and propensity to development of these illnesses. In this study, we evaluated whether moderate to severe TBI can trigger the initial formation of pathological tau that would induce the development of the pathology throughout the brain. To this end, we subjected tau transgenic mice to TBI and assessed tau phosphorylation and aggregation pattern to create a spatial heat map of tau deposition and spreading in the brain. Our results suggest that brain injured tau transgenic mice have an accelerated tau pathology in different brain regions that increases over time compared with sham mice. The appearance of pathological tau occurs in regions distant to the injury area that are connected synaptically, suggesting dissemination of tau aggregates. Overall, this work posits TBI as a risk factor for tauopathies through the induction of tau hyperphosphorylation and aggregation.
Project description:Mild traumatic brain injury accounts for the majority of head injuries and has been correlated with neurodegeneration and dementia. While repetitive mild traumatic brain injury is highly correlated to neurodegeneration, the correlation of a single mild traumatic brain injury with neurodegeneration is still unclear. Because tau aggregates are the main form of mild traumatic brain injury induced pathology, toxic forms of tau protein most likely play a role in the development of post-mild traumatic brain injury neurodegeneration. Therefore, it becomes crucial to characterize the properties of soluble tau aggregates in single versus repetitive mild traumatic brain injury. Herein, we isolated tau oligomers from wild-type mice exposed to single or repetitive mild traumatic brain injury and characterized the tau aggregates at functional, biochemical and biophysical levels. We demonstrated that single versus repetitive mild traumatic brain injuries frequencies lead to the formation of different tau oligomeric polymorphisms. These polymorphisms express different long-term potentiation impairment potencies, toxicity potentials, morphologies and strain indicating properties. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence that soluble tau oligomers derived from single versus repetitive mild traumatic brain injuries form distinct polymorphisms that possibly correlate with the risk of neurodegeneration after mild traumatic brain injury.
Project description:Brain degeneration, including that caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI) often leads to severe bladder dysfunction, including incontinence and lower urinary tract symptoms; with the causes remaining unknown. Male C57BL/6J mice underwent repetitive moderate brain injury (rmdTBI) or sham injury, then mice received either cis P-tau monoclonal antibody (cis mAb), which prevents brain degeneration in TBI mice, or control (IgG). Void spot assays revealed age-dependent incontinence in IgG controls 8 months after injury, while cis mAb treated or sham mice showed no dysfunction. No obvious bladder pathology occurred in any group. Urodynamic cystometry in conscious mice revealed overactive bladder, reduced maximal voiding pressures and incontinence in IgG control, but not sham or cis mAb treated mice. Hyperphosphorylated tau deposition and neural tangle-like pathology occurred in cortical and hippocampal regions only of IgG control mice accompanied with post-traumatic neuroinflammation and was not seen in midbrain and hindbrain regions associated with bladder filling and voiding reflex arcs. In this model of brain degeneration bladder dysfunction results from rostral, and not hindbrain damage, indicating that rostral brain inputs are required for normal bladder functioning. Detailed analysis of the functioning of neural circuits controlling bladder function in TBI should lead to insights into how brain degeneration leads to bladder dysfunction, as well as novel strategies to treat these disorders.
Project description:Traumatic brain injury (TBI), characterized by acute neurological dysfunction, is one of the best known environmental risk factors for chronic traumatic encephalopathy and Alzheimer's disease, the defining pathologic features of which include tauopathy made of phosphorylated tau protein (P-tau). However, tauopathy has not been detected in the early stages after TBI, and how TBI leads to tauopathy is unknown. Here we find robust cis P-tau pathology after TBI in humans and mice. After TBI in mice and stress in vitro, neurons acutely produce cis P-tau, which disrupts axonal microtubule networks and mitochondrial transport, spreads to other neurons, and leads to apoptosis. This process, which we term 'cistauosis', appears long before other tauopathy. Treating TBI mice with cis antibody blocks cistauosis, prevents tauopathy development and spread, and restores many TBI-related structural and functional sequelae. Thus, cis P-tau is a major early driver of disease after TBI and leads to tauopathy in chronic traumatic encephalopathy and Alzheimer's disease. The cis antibody may be further developed to detect and treat TBI, and prevent progressive neurodegeneration after injury.
Project description:Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder associated with repetitive traumatic brain injury. Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a Parkinsonian disorder that can result in repetitive falls with associated head trauma. We hypothesized that patients with neurodegenerative disorders like MSA could develop CTE pathology. Therefore, we assessed CTE pathology in 139 MSA cases in our brain bank. Sections from convexity cerebral cortices were screened by immunohistochemistry with anti-phospho-tau antibody. For cases with suggestive CTE pathology, further sections of basal forebrain and hippocampus were immunostained. Consensus criteria were used to make the diagnosis of CTE and aging-related tau astrogliopathy (ARTAG) was differentiated from CTE pathology. Pertinent clinical information was derived from the available records and online searches. Of the 139 MSA cases, 8 (6%) had CTE pathology and 10 (8%) had ARTAG pathology. All 8 cases with CTE were male and 4 of them had a documented history of contact sports. The median age at death in MSA with CTE was younger than in MSA without CTE or MSA with ARTAG (60, 67, and 74 years, respectively; p?=?0.002). Even without a known history of contact sports or head trauma, a small subset of cases with MSA had CTE pathology.
Project description:Perturbations in blood vessels play a critical role in the pathophysiology of brain injury and neurodegeneration. Here, we use a systematic genome-wide transcriptome screening approach to investigate the vasculome after brain trauma in mice. Mice were subjected to controlled cortical impact and brains were extracted for analysis at 24?h post-injury. The core of the traumatic lesion was removed and then cortical microvesels were isolated from nondirectly damaged ipsilateral cortex. Compared to contralateral cortex and normal cortex from sham-operated mice, we identified a wide spectrum of responses in the vasculome after trauma. Up-regulated pathways included those involved in regulation of inflammation and extracellular matrix processes. Decreased pathways included those involved in regulation of metabolism, mitochondrial function, and transport systems. These findings suggest that microvascular perturbations can be widespread and not necessarily localized to core areas of direct injury per se and may further provide a broader gene network context for existing knowledge regarding inflammation, metabolism, and blood-brain barrier alterations after brain trauma. Further efforts are warranted to map the vasculome with higher spatial and temporal resolution from acute to delayed phase post-trauma. Investigating the widespread network responses in the vasculome may reveal potential mechanisms, therapeutic targets, and biomarkers for traumatic brain injury.
Project description:INTRODUCTION: Worldwide, severe traumatic brain injury is a frequent pathology and is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Mannitol and hypertonic saline are therapeutic options for intracranial hypertension occurring in the acute phase of care. However, current practices of emergency physicians are unknown. METHODS: We conducted a self-administered survey of emergency physicians in the province of Québec, Canada, to understand their attitudes surrounding the use of hyperosmolar solutions in patients with severe traumatic brain injury. Using information from a systematic review of hypertonic saline solutions and experts' opinion, we developed a questionnaire following a systematic approach (items generation and reduction). We tested the questionnaire for face and content validity, and test-retest reliability. Physicians were identified through the department head of each eligible level I and II trauma centers. We administered the survey using a web-based interface and planned email reminders. RESULTS: We received 210 questionnaires out of 429 potentials respondents (response rate 49%). Most respondents worked in level II trauma centers (69%). Fifty-three percent (53%) of emergency physicians stated using hypertonic saline to treat severe traumatic brain injury. Most reported using hyperosmolar therapy in the presence of severe traumatic brain injury and unilateral reactive mydriasis, midline shift or cistern compression on brain computed tomography. CONCLUSION: Hyperosmolar therapy is believed being broadly used by emergency physicians in Quebec following severe traumatic brain injury. Despite the absence of clinical practice guidelines promoting the use of hypertonic saline, a majority of them said to use these solutions in specific clinical situations.