Time course images of cellular injury and recovery in murine brain with high-resolution GRIN lens system.
ABSTRACT: Time course, in vivo imaging of brain cells is crucial to fully understand the progression of secondary cellular damage and recovery in murine models of injury. We have combined high-resolution gradient index lens technology with a model of diffuse axonal injury in rodents to enable repeated visualization of fine features of individual cells in three-dimensional space over several weeks. For example, we recorded changes in morphology in the same axons in the external capsule numerous times over 30 to 60 days, before and after induced traumatic brain injury. We observed the expansion of secondary injury and limited recovery of individual axons in this subcortical white matter tract over time. In another application, changes in microglial activation state were visualized in the penumbra region of mice before and after ischemia induced by middle carotid artery occlusion. The ability to collect a series of high-resolution images of cellular features of the same cells pre- and post-injury enables a unique opportunity to study the progression of damage, spontaneous healing, and effects of therapeutics in mouse models of neurodegenerative disease and brain injury.
Project description:Spontaneous spreading depolarizations (SDs) occur in the penumbra surrounding ischemic core. These SDs, often referred to as peri-infarct depolarizations, cause vasoconstriction and recruitment of the penumbra into the ischemic core in the critical first hours after focal ischemic stroke; however, the real-time spatiotemporal dynamics of SD-induced injury to synaptic circuitry in the penumbra remain unknown. A modified cortical photothrombosis model was used to produce a square-shaped lesion surrounding a penumbra-like "area at risk" in middle cerebral artery territory of mouse somatosensory cortex. Lesioning resulted in recurrent spontaneous SDs. In vivo two-photon microscopy of green fluorescent protein-expressing neurons in this penumbra-like area at risk revealed that SDs were temporally correlated with rapid (<6 s) dendritic beading. Dendrites quickly (<3 min) recovered between SDs to near-control morphology until the occurrence of SD-induced terminal dendritic injury, signifying acute synaptic damage. SDs are characterized by a breakdown of ion homeostasis that can be recovered by ion pumps if the energy supply is adequate. Indeed, the likelihood of rapid dendritic recovery between SDs was correlated with the presence of nearby flowing blood vessels, but the presence of such vessels was not always sufficient for rapid dendritic recovery, suggesting that energy needs for recovery exceeded energy supply of compromised blood flow. We propose that metabolic stress resulting from recurring SDs facilitates acute injury at the level of dendrites and dendritic spines in metabolically compromised tissue, expediting penumbral recruitment into the ischemic core.
Project description:Ischemia, especially pericontusional ischemia, is one of the leading causes of secondary brain damage after traumatic brain injury (TBI). So far efforts to improve cerebral blood flow (CBF) after TBI were not successful because of various reasons. We previously showed that nitric oxide (NO) applied by inhalation after experimental ischemic stroke is transported to the brain and induces vasodilatation in hypoxic brain regions, thus improving regional ischemia, thereby improving brain damage and neurological outcome. As regional ischemia in the traumatic penumbra is a key mechanism determining secondary posttraumatic brain damage, the aim of the current study was to evaluate the effect of NO inhalation after experimental TBI. NO inhalation significantly improved CBF and reduced intracranial pressure after TBI in male C57 Bl/6 mice. Long-term application (24 hours NO inhalation) resulted in reduced lesion volume, reduced brain edema formation and less blood-brain barrier disruption, as well as improved neurological function. No adverse effects, e.g., on cerebral auto-regulation, systemic blood pressure, or oxidative damage were observed. NO inhalation might therefore be a safe and effective treatment option for TBI patients.
Project description:After ischemic stroke, various damage-associated molecules are released from the ischemic core and diffuse to the ischemic penumbra, activating microglia and promoting proinflammatory responses that may cause damage to the local tissue. Here we demonstrate using in vivo and in vitro models that, during sublethal ischemia, local neurons rapidly produce interleukin-4 (IL-4), a cytokine with potent anti-inflammatory properties. One such anti-inflammatory property includes its ability to polarize macrophages away from a proinflammatory M1 phenotype to a "healing" M2 phenotype. Using an IL-4 reporter mouse, we demonstrated that IL-4 expression was induced preferentially in neurons in the ischemic penumbra but not in the ischemic core or in brain regions that were spared from ischemia. When added to cultured microglia, IL-4 was able to induce expression of genes typifying the M2 phenotype and peroxisome proliferator activated receptor ? (PPAR?) activation. IL-4 also enhanced expression of the IL-4 receptor on microglia, facilitating a "feedforward" increase in (1) their expression of trophic factors and (2) PPAR?-dependent phagocytosis of apoptotic neurons. Parenteral administration of IL-4 resulted in augmented brain expression of M2- and PPAR?-related genes. Furthermore, IL-4 and PPAR? agonist administration improved functional recovery in a clinically relevant mouse stroke model, even if administered 24 h after the onset of ischemia. We propose that IL-4 is secreted by ischemic neurons as an endogenous defense mechanism, playing a vital role in the regulation of brain cleanup and repair after stroke. Modulation of IL-4 and its associated pathways could represent a potential target for ischemic stroke treatment.Depending on the activation signal, microglia/macrophages (M?) can behave as "healing" (M2) or "harmful" (M1). In response to ischemia, damaged/necrotic brain cells discharge factors that polarize M? to a M1-like phenotype. This polarization emerges early after stroke and persists for days to weeks, driving secondary brain injury via proinflammatory mediators and oxidative damage. Our study demonstrates that, to offset this M1-like polarization process, sublethally ischemic neurons may instead secrete a potent M2 polarizing cytokine, interleukin-4 (IL-4). In the presence of IL-4 (including when IL-4 is administered exogenously), M? become more effective in the cleanup of ischemic debris and produce trophic factors that may promote brain repair. We propose that IL-4 could represent a potential target for ischemic stroke treatment/recovery.
Project description:Serotonin axons in the adult rodent brain can regrow and recover their function following several forms of injury including controlled cortical impact (CCI), a neocortical stab wound, or systemic amphetamine toxicity. To assess whether this capacity for regrowth is unique to serotonergic fibers, we used CCI and stab injury models to assess whether fibers from other neuromodulatory systems can also regrow following injury. Using tyrosine-hydoxylase (TH) immunohistochemistry we measured the density of catecholaminergic axons before and at various time points after injury. One week after CCI injury we observed a pronounced loss, across cortical layers, of TH+ axons posterior to the site of injury. One month after CCI injury the same was true of TH+ axons both anterior and posterior to the site of injury. This loss was followed by significant recovery of TH+ fiber density across cortical layers, both anterior and posterior to the site of injury, measured three months after injury. TH+ axon loss and recovery over weeks to months was also observed throughout cortical layers using the stab injury model. Double label immunohistochemistry revealed that nearly all TH+ axons in neocortical layer 1/2 are also dopamine-beta-hyroxylase+ (DBH+; presumed norepinephrine), while TH+ axons in layer 5 are a mixture of DBH+ and dopamine transporter+ types. This suggests that noradrenergic axons can regrow following CCI or stab injury in the adult mouse neocortex and leaves open the question of whether dopaminergic axons can do the same.
Project description:Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among young individuals worldwide. Understanding the pathophysiology of neurotrauma is crucial for the development of more effective therapeutic strategies. After the trauma occurs, immediate neurologic damage is produced by the traumatic forces; this primary injury triggers a secondary wave of biochemical cascades together with metabolic and cellular changes, called secondary neural injury. In the scenario of the acutely injured brain, the ongoing secondary injury results in ischemia and edema culminating in an uncontrollable increase in intracranial pressure. These areas of secondary injury progression, or areas of "traumatic penumbra", represent crucial targets for therapeutic interventions. Neurotrophins are a class of signaling molecules that promote survival and/or maintenance of neurons. They also stimulate axonal growth, synaptic plasticity, and neurotransmitter synthesis and release. Therefore, this review focuses on the role of neurotrophins in the acute post-injury response. Here, we discuss possible endogenous neuroprotective mechanisms of neurotrophins in the prevailing environment surrounding the injured areas, and highlight the crosstalk between neurotrophins and inflammation with focus on neurovascular unit cells, particularly pericytes. The perspective is that neurotrophins may represent promising targets for research on neuroprotective and neurorestorative processes in the short-term following TBI.
Project description:White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) are associated with progressive age-related cognitive decline and cardiovascular risk factors, but their biological relevance as indicators of generalized white matter injury is unclear. Diffusion tensor imaging provides more sensitive indications of subtle white matter disruption and can therefore clarify whether WMHs represent foci of generalized white matter damage that extends over a broader neighborhood.Two hundred eight participants from the University of California, Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center received a comprehensive clinical evaluation and brain MRI including fluid-attenuated inversion recovery and diffusion tensor imaging sequences. Voxelwise maps of WMHs were produced from fluid-attenuated inversion recovery using a standardized WMH detection protocol. Fractional anisotropy maps were calculated from diffusion tensor imaging. All WMH and fractional anisotropy maps were coregistered to a standardized space. For each normal-appearing white matter voxel in each subject fluid-attenuated inversion recovery scan, a neighborhood white matter injury score was calculated that increased with increasing number and proximity of WMH in the vicinity of the normal-appearing white matter voxel. Fractional anisotropy was related to neighborhood white matter injury using a nonlinear mixed effect model controlling for relevant confounding factors.Fractional anisotropy was found to decrease as neighborhood white matter injury increased (? = -0.0017/%, P < 0.0001) with an accelerated rate (P < 0.0001) for neighborhood white matter injury >0.4. An increase of 1% in neighborhood white matter injury score was associated with a decrease in mean fractional anisotropy of 0.012 (P < 0.001).WMH may represent foci of more widespread and subtle white matter changes rather than distinct, sharply delineated anatomic abnormalities. We use the term white matter hyperintensities penumbra to explain this phenomenon.
Project description:The p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) can regulate multiple cellular functions including proliferation, survival, and apoptotic cell death. The p75NTR is widely expressed in the developing brain and is downregulated as the nervous system matures, with only a few neuronal subpopulations retaining expression into adulthood. However, p75NTR expression is induced following damage to the adult brain, including after traumatic brain injury, which is a leading cause of mortality and disability worldwide. A major consequence of traumatic brain injury is the progressive neuronal loss that continues secondary to the initial trauma, which ultimately contributes to cognitive decline. Understanding mechanisms governing this progressive neuronal death is key to developing targeted therapeutic strategies to provide neuroprotection and salvage cognitive function. In this study, we demonstrate that a cortical impact injury to the sensorimotor cortex elicits p75NTR expression in apoptotic neurons in the injury penumbra, confirming previous studies. To establish whether preventing p75NTR induction or blocking the ligands would reduce the extent of secondary neuronal cell death, we used a noninvasive intranasal strategy to deliver either siRNA to block the induction of p75NTR, or function-blocking antibodies to the ligands pro-nerve growth factor and pro-brain-derived neurotrophic factor. We demonstrate that either preventing the induction of p75NTR or blocking the proneurotrophin ligands provides neuroprotection and preserves sensorimotor function.
Project description:Evidence suggests that recovery from stroke damage results from the production of new synaptic pathways within surviving brain regions over weeks. To address whether brain function might redistribute more rapidly through preexisting pathways, we examined patterns of sensory-evoked depolarization in mouse somatosensory cortex within hours after targeted stroke to a subset of the forelimb sensory map. Brain activity was mapped with voltage-sensitive dye imaging allowing millisecond time resolution over 9 mm(2) of brain. Before targeted stroke, we report rapid activation of the forelimb area within 10 ms of contralateral forelimb stimulation and more delayed activation of related areas of cortex such as the hindlimb sensory and motor cortices. After stroke to a subset of the forelimb somatosensory cortex map, function was lost in ischemic areas within the forelimb map center, but maintained in regions 200-500 microm blood flow deficits indicating the size of a perfused, but nonfunctional, penumbra. In many cases, stroke led to only partial loss of the forelimb map, indicating that a subset of a somatosensory domain can function on its own. Within the forelimb map spared by stroke, forelimb-stimulated responses became delayed in kinetics, and their center of activity shifted into adjacent hindlimb and posterior-lateral sensory areas. We conclude that the focus of forelimb-specific somatosensory cortex activity can be rapidly redistributed after ischemic damage. Given that redistribution occurs within an hour, the effect is likely to involve surviving accessory pathways and could potentially contribute to rapid behavioral compensation or direct future circuit rewiring.
Project description:Traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality amongst civilians and military personnel globally. Despite advances in our knowledge of the complex pathophysiology of TBI, the underlying mechanisms are yet to be fully elucidated. While initial brain insult involves acute and irreversible primary damage to the parenchyma, the ensuing secondary brain injuries often progress slowly over months to years, hence providing a window for therapeutic interventions. To date, hallmark events during delayed secondary CNS damage include Wallerian degeneration of axons, mitochondrial dysfunction, excitotoxicity, oxidative stress and apoptotic cell death of neurons and glia. Extensive research has been directed to the identification of druggable targets associated with these processes. Furthermore, tremendous effort has been put forth to improve the bioavailability of therapeutics to CNS by devising strategies for efficient, specific and controlled delivery of bioactive agents to cellular targets. Here, we give an overview of the pathophysiology of TBI and the underlying molecular mechanisms, followed by an update on novel therapeutic targets and agents. Recent development of various approaches of drug delivery to the CNS is also discussed.
Project description:A high-resolution, three-dimensional, optical imaging technique for the murine brain was developed to identify the effects of different therapeutic windows for preclinical brain research. This technique tracks the same cells over several weeks. We conducted a pilot study of a promising drug to treat diffuse axonal injury (DAI) caused by traumatic brain injury, using two different therapeutic windows, as a means to demonstrate the utility of this novel longitudinal imaging technique. DAI causes immediate, sporadic axon damage followed by progressive secondary axon damage. We administered minocycline for three days commencing one hour after injury in one treatment group and beginning 72?hours after injury in another group to demonstrate the method's ability to show how and when the therapeutic drug exerts protective and/or healing effects. Fewer varicosities developed in acutely treated mice while more varicosities resolved in mice with delayed treatment. For both treatments, the drug arrested development of new axonal damage by 30 days. In addition to evaluation of therapeutics for traumatic brain injury, this hybrid microlens imaging method should be useful to study other types of brain injury and neurodegeneration and cellular responses to treatment.