Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Anatomy & Neurobiology

First Advisor

Dong Sun


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) leads to short-term and long-term consequences that can cause many different life-long disorders. Studies of TBI have generally focused on the acute stage; however, it is now becoming important to investigate chronic responses following TBI as clinical reports of dementia and cognitive impairments have been linked to a history of TBI. Recent data have established that cognitive function is associated with hippocampal neurogenesis. Chronic injury induced changes in the brain may affect this endogenous process. Chronic responses following TBI include cell death pathways and inflammatory responses that are persistent in the brain for months to years after injury. In this study we investigate the chronic consequences of TBI on adult neurogenesis and the possible involvement of chronic-inflammation in regulating adult neurogenesis. We used two popular TBI animal models, Control Cortical Impact (CCI) and Lateral Fluid Percussion Injury (LFPI) models, to examine focal and diffuse injury responses respectively. Adult rats received CCI, LFPI, or sham injury and were sacrificed at either 15 days or 3 months after injury to examine either subacute or chronic TBI-induced responses respectively. We found no change in levels of proliferation activity at both time points in both TBI models compared to sham animals. Using Doublecortin immunolabeling we found an enhanced generation of new neurons at 15 days after injury and by 3 months this activity was significantly reduced in both TBI models compared to sham animals. We also found persistent inflammation in the injured brains at both time points. Morphological assessment showed that LFPI model of TBI causes shrinkage of the ipsilateral hippocampus. Our results show that moderate TBI induced hippocampal neurogenesis in both models at the early time post-injury. However, at chronic stage, reduced hippocampal neurogenesis is observed in both models and this is accompanied by chronic inflammation. These results suggest that persistent inflammatory responses maybe detrimental to normal neurogenic activity, leading to cognitive impairment and neurodegeneration in long-term TBI survivors.


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