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J Surg Res. 2014 Mar;187(1):230-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2013.09.030. Epub 2013 Oct 7.

Ghrelin decreases motor deficits after traumatic brain injury.

Author information

1
Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Burns, Department of Surgery, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA.
2
Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Burns, Department of Surgery, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA. Electronic address: v3bansal@ucsd.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pharmacologic therapy for traumatic brain injury (TBI) has remained relatively unchanged for decades. Ghrelin, an endogenously produced peptide, has been shown to prevent apoptosis and blood-brain barrier dysfunction after TBI. We hypothesize that ghrelin treatment will prevent neuronal degeneration and improve motor coordination after TBI.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

A weight drop model created severe TBI in three groups of BALB/c mice: Sham, TBI, and TBI + ghrelin (20 μg intraperitoneal ghrelin). Brain tissue was examined by hematoxylin and eosin and Fluoro-Jade B (FJB) staining to evaluate histologic signs of injury, cortical volume loss, and neuronal degeneration. Additionally, motor coordination was assessed.

RESULTS:

Ghrelin treatment prevented volume loss after TBI (19.4 ± 9.8 mm(3)versus 71.4 ± 31.4 mm(3); P < 0.05). Similarly, although TBI increased FJB-positive neuronal degeneration, ghrelin treatment decreased FJB staining in TBI resulting in immunohistologic patterns similar to sham. Compared with sham, TBI animals had a significant increase in foot faults at d 1, 3, and 7 (2.75 ± 0.42; 2.67 ± 0.94; 3.33 ± 0.69 versus 0.0 ± 0.0; 0.17 ± 0.19; 0.0 ± 0.0; P < 0.001). TBI + ghrelin animals had significantly decreased foot faults compared with TBI at d 1, 3, and 7 (0.42 ± 0.63; 0.5 ± 0.43; 1.33 ± 0.58; P versus TBI <0.001; P versus sham = NS).

CONCLUSIONS:

Ghrelin treatment prevented post-TBI cortical volume loss and neurodegeneration. Furthermore, ghrelin improved post-TBI motor deficits. The mechanisms of these effects are unclear; however, a combination of the anti-apoptotic and inflammatory modulatory effects of ghrelin may play a role. Further studies delineating the mechanism of these observed effects are warranted.

KEYWORDS:

Ghrelin; Motor outcomes; TBI

PMID:
24176206
DOI:
10.1016/j.jss.2013.09.030
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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