Evaluating glial and neuronal blood biomarkers GFAP and UCH-L1 as gradients of brain injury in concussive, subconcussive and non-concussive trauma: a prospective cohort study.
ABSTRACT: Objectives:To evaluate the ability of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase (UCH-L1) to detect concussion in children and adult trauma patients with a normal mental status and assess biomarker concentrations over time as gradients of injury in concussive and non-concussive head and body trauma. Design:Large prospective cohort study. Setting:Three level I trauma centres in the USA. Participants:Paediatric and adult trauma patients of all ages, with and without head trauma, presenting with a normal mental status (Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15) within 4?hours of injury. Rigorous screening for concussive symptoms was conducted. Of 3462 trauma patients screened, 751 were enrolled and 712 had biomarker data. Repeated blood sampling was conducted at 4, 8, 12, 16, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, 96, 108, 120, 132, 144, 156, 168 and 180?hours postinjury in adults. Main outcomes:Detection of concussion and gradients of injury in children versus adults by comparing three groups of patients: (1) those with concussion; (2) those with head trauma without overt signs of concussion (non-concussive head trauma controls) and (3) those with peripheral (body) trauma without head trauma or concussion (non-concussive body trauma controls). Results:A total of 1904 samples from 712 trauma patients were analysed. Within 4?hours of injury, there were incremental increases in levels of both GFAP and UCH-L1 from non-concussive body trauma (lowest), to mild elevations in non-concussive head trauma, to highest levels in patients with concussion. In concussion patients, GFAP concentrations were significantly higher compared with body trauma controls (p<0.001) and with head trauma controls (p<0.001) in both children and adults, after controlling for multiple comparisons. However, for UCH-L1, there were no significant differences between concussion patients and head trauma controls (p=0.894) and between body trauma and head trauma controls in children. The AUC for initial GFAP levels to detect concussion was 0.80 (0.73-0.87) in children and 0.76 (0.71-0.80) in adults. This differed significantly from UCH-L1 with AUCs of 0.62 (0.53-0.72) in children and 0.69 (0.64-0.74) in adults. Conclusions:In a cohort of trauma patients with normal mental status, GFAP outperformed UCH-L1 in detecting concussion in both children and adults. Blood levels of GFAP and UCH-L1 showed incremental elevations across three injury groups: from non-concussive body trauma, to non-concussive head trauma, to concussion. However, UCH-L1 was expressed at much higher levels than GFAP in those with non-concussive trauma, particularly in children. Elevations in both biomarkers in patients with non-concussive head trauma may be reflective of a subconcussive brain injury. This will require further study.
Project description:Background: Technology platforms that afford biomarker discovery in patients suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) remain an unmet medical need. Here, we describe an observational pilot study to explore the utility of an alternating current electrokinetic (ACE) microchip device in this context. Methods: Blood samples were collected from participating subjects with and without minor TBI. Plasma levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), Tau, ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1), and cell-free DNA (cfDNA) were determined in subjects with and without minor TBI using ACE microchip device followed by on-chip immunofluorescent analysis. Post-concussive symptoms were assessed using the Rivermead Post Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPCSQ) at one-month follow-up. Results: Highest levels of GFAP, UCH-L1, and Tau were seen in two minor TBI subjects with abnormality on head computed tomography (CT). In patients without abnormal head CT, Tau and GFAP levels discriminated between plasma from minor-TBI and non-TBI patients, with sensitivity and specificity of 64-72 and 50%, respectively. Plasma GFAP, UCH-L1, and Tau strongly correlated with the cumulative RPCSQ score. Plasma UCH-L1 and GFAP exhibited highest correlation to sensitivity to noise and light (r = 0.96 and 0.91, respectively, p < 0.001). Plasma UCH-L1 and Tau showed highest correlation with headache (r = 0.74 and 0.78, respectively, p < 0.001), sleep disturbance (r = 0.69 and 0.84, respectively, p < 0.001), and cognitive symptoms, including forgetfulness (r = 0.76 and 0.74, respectively, p < 0.001), poor concentration (r = 0.68 and 0.76, respectively, p < 0.001), and time required for information processing (r = 0.77 and 0.81, respectively, p < 0.001). cfDNA exhibited a strong correlation with depression (r = 0.79, p < 0.01) and dizziness (r = 0.69, p < 0.01). While cfDNA demonstrated positive correlation with dizziness and depression (r = 0.69 and 0.79, respectively, p < 0.001), no significant correlation was observed between cumulative RPCSQ and cfDNA (r = 0.07, p = 0.81). Conclusion: We provide proof-of-principle results supporting the utility of ACE microchip for plasma biomarker analysis in patients with minor TBI.
Project description:Background and Objectives: The annual global incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is over 10 million. An estimated 29% of TBI patients with negative computed tomography (CT-) have positive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI+) findings. Judicious use of serum biomarkers with MRI may aid in diagnosis of CT-occult TBI. The current manuscript aimed to evaluate the diagnostic, therapeutic and risk-stratification utility of known biomarkers and intracranial MRI pathology. Materials and Methods: The PubMed database was queried with keywords (plasma OR serum) AND (biomarker OR marker OR protein) AND (brain injury/trauma OR head injury/trauma OR concussion) AND (magnetic resonance imaging/MRI) (title/abstract) in English. Seventeen articles on TBI biomarkers and MRI were included: S100 calcium-binding protein B (S100B; N = 6), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP; N = 3), GFAP/ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1; N = 2), Tau (N = 2), neurofilament-light (NF-L; N = 2), alpha-synuclein (N = 1), and alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor peptide (AMPAR; N = 1). Results: Acute GFAP distinguished CT-/MRI+ from CT-/MRI- (AUC = 0.777, 0.852 at 9-16 h). GFAP discriminated CT-/diffuse axonal injury (DAI+) from controls (AUC = 0.903). Tau correlated directly with number of head strikes and inversely with white matter fractional anisotropy (FA), and a cutoff > 1.5 pg/mL discriminated between DAI+ and DAI- (sensitivity = 74%/specificity = 69%). NF-L had 100% discrimination of DAI in severe TBI and correlated with FA. Low alpha-synuclein was associated with poorer functional connectivity. AMPAR cutoff > 0.4 ng/mL had a sensitivity of 91% and a specificity of 92% for concussion and was associated with minor MRI findings. Low/undetectable S100B had a high negative predictive value for CT/MRI pathology. UCH-L1 showed no notable correlations with MRI. Conclusions: An acute circulating biomarker capable of discriminating intracranial MRI abnormalities is critical to establishing diagnosis for CT-occult TBI and can triage patients who may benefit from outpatient MRI, surveillance and/or follow up with TBI specialists. GFAP has shown diagnostic potential for MRI findings such as DAI and awaits further validation. Tau shows promise in detecting DAI and disrupted functional connectivity. Candidate biomarkers should be evaluated within the context of analytical performance of the assays used, as well as the post-injury timeframe for blood collection relative to MRI abnormalities.
Project description:Head computed tomography (CT) imaging is still a commonly obtained diagnostic test for patients with minor head injury despite availability of clinical decision rules to guide imaging use and recommendations to reduce radiation exposure resulting from unnecessary imaging. This prospective multicenter observational study of 251 patients with suspected mild to moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) evaluated three serum biomarkers' (glial fibrillary acidic protein [GFAP], ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase-L1 [UCH-L1] and S100B measured within 6 h of injury) ability to differentiate CT negative and CT positive findings. Of the 251 patients, 60.2% were male and 225 (89.6%) had a presenting Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15. A positive head CT (intracranial injury) was found in 36 (14.3%). UCH-L1 was 100% sensitive and 39% specific at a cutoff value >40 pg/mL. To retain 100% sensitivity, GFAP was 0% specific (cutoff value 0 pg/mL) and S100B had a specificity of only 2% (cutoff value 30 pg/mL). All three biomarkers had similar values for areas under the receiver operator characteristic curve: 0.79 (95% confidence interval; 0.70-0.88) for GFAP, 0.80 (0.71-0.89) for UCH-L1, and 0.75 (0.65-0.85) for S100B. Neither GFAP nor UCH-L1 curve values differed significantly from S100B (p = 0.21 and p = 0.77, respectively). In our patient cohort, UCH-L1 outperformed GFAP and S100B when the goal was to reduce CT use without sacrificing sensitivity. UCH-L1 values <40 pg/mL could potentially have aided in eliminating 83 of the 215 negative CT scans. These results require replication in other studies before the test is used in actual clinical practice.
Project description:Importance:There is potential scientific and clinical value in validation of objective biomarkers for sport-related concussion (SRC). Objective:To investigate the association of acute-phase blood biomarker levels with SRC in collegiate athletes. Design, Setting, and Participants:This multicenter, prospective, case-control study was conducted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the US Department of Defense Concussion Assessment, Research, and Education (CARE) Consortium from February 20, 2015, to May 31, 2018, at 6 CARE Advanced Research Core sites. A total of 504 collegiate athletes with concussion, contact sport control athletes, and non-contact sport control athletes completed clinical testing and blood collection at preseason baseline, the acute postinjury period, 24 to 48 hours after injury, the point of reporting being asymptomatic, and 7 days after return to play. Data analysis was conducted from March 1 to November 30, 2019. Main Outcomes and Measures:Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1), neurofilament light chain, and tau were quantified using the Quanterix Simoa multiplex assay. Clinical outcome measures included the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool-Third Edition (SCAT-3) symptom evaluation, Standardized Assessment of Concussion, Balance Error Scoring System, and Brief Symptom Inventory 18. Results:A total of 264 athletes with concussion (mean [SD] age, 19.08 [1.24] years; 211 [79.9%] male), 138 contact sport controls (mean [SD] age, 19.03 [1.27] years; 107 [77.5%] male), and 102 non-contact sport controls (mean [SD] age, 19.39 [1.25] years; 82 [80.4%] male) were included in the study. Athletes with concussion had significant elevation in GFAP (mean difference, 0.430 pg/mL; 95% CI, 0.339-0.521 pg/mL; P?<?.001), UCH-L1 (mean difference, 0.449 pg/mL; 95% CI, 0.167-0.732 pg/mL; P?<?.001), and tau levels (mean difference, 0.221 pg/mL; 95% CI, 0.046-0.396 pg/mL; P?=?.004) at the acute postinjury time point compared with preseason baseline. Longitudinally, a significant interaction (group?×?visit) was found for GFAP (F7,1507.36?=?16.18, P?<?.001), UCH-L1 (F7,1153.09?=?5.71, P?<?.001), and tau (F7,1480.55?=?6.81, P?<?.001); the interaction for neurofilament light chain was not significant (F7,1506.90?=?1.33, P?=?.23). The area under the curve for the combination of GFAP and UCH-L1 in differentiating athletes with concussion from contact sport controls at the acute postinjury period was 0.71 (95% CI,?0.64-0.78; P?<?.001); the acute postinjury area under the curve for all 4 biomarkers combined was 0.72 (95% CI,?0.65-0.79; P?<?.001). Beyond SCAT-3 symptom score, GFAP at the acute postinjury time point was associated with the classification of athletes with concussion from contact controls (??=?12.298; 95% CI, 2.776-54.481; P?=?.001) and non-contact sport controls (??=?5.438; 95% CI, 1.676-17.645; P?=?.005). Athletes with concussion with loss of consciousness or posttraumatic amnesia had significantly higher levels of GFAP than athletes with concussion with neither loss of consciousness nor posttraumatic amnesia at the acute postinjury time point (mean difference, 0.583 pg/mL; 95% CI, 0.369-0.797 pg/mL; P?<?.001). Conclusions and Relevance:The results suggest that blood biomarkers can be used as research tools to inform the underlying pathophysiological mechanism of concussion and provide additional support for future studies to optimize and validate biomarkers for potential clinical use in SRC.
Project description:Studies have indicated that concussive and sub-concussive brain injuries that are frequent during collision sports may lead to long-term neurological abnormalities, however there is a knowledge gap on how biological sex modifies outcomes. Blood-based biomarkers can help to identify the molecular pathology induced by brain injuries and to better understand how biological sex affects the molecular changes. We therefore analyzed serum protein biomarkers in male (n = 50) and female (n = 33) amateur Australian rules footballers (i.e., Australia's most participated collision sport), both with a history of concussion (HoC) and without a history of concussion (NoHoC). These profiles were compared to those of age-matched control male (n = 24) and female (n = 20) athletes with no history of neurotrauma or participation in collision sports. Serum levels of protein markers indicative of neuronal, axonal and glial injury (UCH-L1, NfL, tau, p-tau, GFAP, BLBP, PEA15), metabolic (4-HNE) and vascular changes (VEGF-A, vWF, CLDN5), and inflammation (HMGB1) were assessed using reverse phase protein microarrays. Male, but not female, footballers had increased serum levels of VEGF-A compared to controls regardless of concussion history. In addition, only male footballers who had HoC had increased serum levels of 4-HNE. These findings being restricted to males may be related to shorter collision sport career lengths for females compared to males. In summary, these findings show that male Australian rules footballers have elevated levels of serum biomarkers indicative of vascular abnormalities (VEGF-A) and oxidative stress (4-HNE) in comparison to non-collision control athletes. While future studies are required to determine how these findings relate to neurological function, serum levels of VEGF-A and 4-HNE may be useful to monitor subclinical neurological injury in males participating in collision sports.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a significant healthcare burden and its diagnosis remains a challenge in the emergency department. Serum biomarkers and advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques have already demonstrated their potential to improve the detection of brain injury even in patients with negative computed tomography (CT) findings. The objective of this study was to determine the clinical value of a combinational use of both blood biomarkers and MRI in mTBI detection and their characterization in the acute setting (within 24 hours after injury). METHODS:Nine patients with mTBI were prospectively recruited from the emergency department. Serum samples were collected at the time of hospital admission and every 6 hours up to 24 hours post injury. Neuronal (Ubiquitin C-terminal Hydrolase-L1 [UCH-L1]) and glial (glial fibrillary acidic protein [GFAP]) biomarker levels were analyzed. Advanced MRI data were acquired at 9 ± 6.91 hours after injury. Patients' neurocognitive status was assessed by using the Standard Assessment of Concussion (SAC) instrument. RESULTS:The median serum levels of UCH-L1 and GFAP on admission were increased 4.9 folds and 10.6 folds, respectively, compared to reference values. Three patients were found to have intracranial hemorrhages on SWI, all of whom had very high GFAP levels. Total volume of brain white matter (WM) with abnormal fractional anisotropy (FA) measures of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were negatively correlated with patients' SAC scores, including delayed recall. Both increased and decreased DTI-FA values were observed in the same subjects. Serum biomarker level was not correlated with patients' DTI data nor SAC score. CONCLUSIONS:Blood biomarkers and advanced MRI may correlate or complement each other in different aspects of mTBI detection and characterization. GFAP might have potential to serve as a clinical screening tool for intracranial bleeding. UCH-L1 complements MRI in injury detection. Impairment at WM tracts may account for the patients' neurocognitive symptoms.
Project description:Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1), and S100B have been shown to be predictive of patients with brain injury. Kinetics of these biomarkers in injured humans have not been extensively examined. This prospective multi-center study included patients with mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury. Blood samples obtained at enrollment and every 6?h up to 24?h post-injury were assayed for GFAP, UCH-L1, and S100B. Random effects models examined changes in the biomarkers' level over time. A total of 167 patients were enrolled; mean age was 46.0?±?17.8, 61.1% were male, 143 (85.6%) had a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15, and 33 (19.8%) had a positive head computed tomography (CT) scan. Baseline median biomarker concentrations for all three were higher among CT-positive patients (p?<?0.0001) but GFAP was the only biomarker that significantly increased over time among CT-positive patients relative to CT-negative patients (log transformed values 0.037; 95% confidence interval 0.02, 0.05; p?<?0.001), indicating a 3.7% per hour rise in GFAP concentration. There was no significant increase in either UCH-L1 or S100B in CT-positive patients (p?=?0.15 and p?=?0.47, respectively). GFAP concentrations increased 3.7% per hour among CT-positive patients whereas neither UCH-L1 nor S100B increased, compared with CT-negative patients. The kinetics and temporal profile of GFAP suggest it may be a more robust biomarker to detect patients with positive CT findings, particularly at later post-injury times. Further study is needed to determine if GFAP is a useful test to follow throughout a patient's clinical course.
Project description:Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is important for neuronal survival and regeneration. We investigated the diagnostic and prognostic values of serum BDNF in traumatic brain injury (TBI). We examined serum BDNF in two independent cohorts of TBI cases presenting to the emergency departments (EDs) of the Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH; n?=?76) and San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH, n?=?80), and a control group of JHH ED patients without TBI (n?=?150). Findings were subsequently validated in the prospective, multi-center Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in TBI (TRACK-TBI) Pilot study (n?=?159). We investigated the association between BDNF, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), and ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1) and recovery from TBI at 6 months in the TRACK-TBI Pilot cohort. Incomplete recovery was defined as having either post-concussive syndrome or a Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended score <8 at 6 months. Median day-of-injury BDNF concentrations (ng/mL) were lower among TBI cases (JHH TBI, 17.5 and SFGH TBI, 13.8) than in JHH controls (60.3; p?=?0.0001). Among TRACK-TBI Pilot subjects, median BDNF concentrations (ng/mL) were higher in mild (8.3) than in moderate (4.3) or severe TBI (4.0; p?=?0.004. In the TRACK-TBI cohort, the 75 (71.4%) subjects with very low BDNF values (i.e., <the 1st percentile for non-TBI controls, <14.2?ng/mL) had higher odds of incomplete recovery than those who did not have very low values (odds ratio, 4.0; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.5-11.0). The area under the receiver operator curve for discriminating complete and incomplete recovery was 0.65 (95% CI: 0.52-0.78) for BDNF, 0.61 (95% CI: 0.49-0.73) for GFAP, and 0.55 (95% CI: 0.43-0.66) for UCH-L1. The addition of GFAP/UCH-L1 to BDNF did not improve outcome prediction significantly. Day-of-injury serum BDNF is associated with TBI diagnosis and also provides 6-month prognostic information regarding recovery from TBI. Thus, day-of-injury BDNF values may aid in TBI risk stratification.
Project description:Biomarkers are important for accurate diagnosis of complex disorders such as traumatic brain injury (TBI). For a complex and multifaceted condition such as TBI, it is likely that a single biomarker will not reflect the full spectrum of the response of brain tissue to injury. Ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) are among of the most widely studied biomarkers for TBI. Because UCH-L1 and GFAP measure distinct molecular events, we hypothesized that analysis of both biomarkers would be superior to analysis of each alone for the diagnosis and prognosis of TBI. Serum levels of UCH-L1 and GFAP were measured in a cohort of 206 patients with TBI enrolled in a multicenter observational study (Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury [TRACK-TBI]). Levels of the two biomarkers were weakly correlated to each other (r=0.364). Each biomarker in isolation had good sensitivity and sensitivity for discriminating between TBI patients and healthy controls (area under the curve [AUC] 0.87 and 0.91 for UCH-L1 and GFAP, respectively). When biomarkers were combined, superior sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing TBI was obtained (AUC 0.94). Both biomarkers discriminated between TBI patients with intracranial lesions on CT scan and those without such lesions, but GFAP measures were significantly more sensitive and specific (AUC 0.88 vs. 0.71 for UCH-L1). For association with outcome 3 months after injury, neither biomarker had adequate sensitivity and specificity (AUC 0.65-0.74, for GFAP, and 0.59-0.80 for UCH-L1, depending upon Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended [GOS-E] threshold used). Our results support a role for multiple biomarker measurements in TBI research. ( ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01565551).
Project description:Objective:Motor vehicle collisions generate considerable transmitted forces resulting in traumatic brain injury in children presenting to emergency departments (EDs). To date, no large study has examined post-concussive symptoms in children sustaining concussions in motor vehicle collisions. This study aimed to compare trends in acute post-concussive symptom burden in children with concussion following motor vehicle collisions as compared to other injury mechanisms. Methods:The study is a secondary analysis of the Predicting Persistent Post-concussive Problems in Pediatrics study, which prospectively recruited a multicenter cohort of 3029 children 5-17 years of age presenting to the ED with concussion from 2013-2015. Post-concussive symptom ratings were obtained at pre-specified time points for 12 weeks post-injury, using the validated Post-Concussion Symptom Inventory (PCSI). Symptom severity and recovery trajectories were measured using delta scores on the PCSI (mean post-injury symptom score minus perceived pre-injury score). A multivariable, longitudinal model evaluated the adjusted effect of mechanism of injury (motor vehicle collisions vs other mechanisms) on mean symptom scores, compared to perceived pre-injury reports, and the temporal change in mean scores over during recovery. Results:Of 3029 study participants, 56 (1.8%) sustained concussion from motor vehicle collisions. Children sustaining concussion in a motor vehicle collision had lower post-concussive symptom scores upon ED presentation, measured as differences from their perceived pre-injury reports, as compared to other injury mechanisms (-0.36 [95% confidence interval (CI) = -0.58, -0.15]). However, the motor vehicle collisions group showed the smallest decline in symptom burden over 1 month following injury (-0.54 [95% CI = -0.81, -0.27]). Conclusions:Children sustaining concussions in motor vehicle collisions may have lower initial symptom burdens but slower symptom recovery at 1 month compared to other mechanisms of injury and may represent a distinct population for prognostic counseling in the ED requiring further research.