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J Neurotrauma. 2014 Apr 15;31(8):782-8. doi: 10.1089/neu.2013.3116. Epub 2014 Mar 6.

Post-acute brain injury urinary signature: a new resource for molecular diagnostics.

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1 Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine , Richmond, Virginia.


Heterogeneity within brain injury presents a challenge to the development of informative molecular diagnostics. Recent studies show progress, particularly in cerebrospinal fluid, with biomarker assays targeting one or a few structural proteins. Protein-based assays in peripheral fluids, however, have been more challenging to develop, in part because of restricted and intermittent barrier access. Further, a greater number of molecular variables may be required to inform on patient status given the multi-factorial nature of brain injury. Presented is an alternative approach profiling peripheral fluid for a class of small metabolic by-products rendered by ongoing brain pathobiology. Urine specimens were collected for head trauma subjects upon admission to acute brain injury rehabilitation and non-traumatized matched controls. An innovative data-independent mass spectrometry approach was employed for reproducible molecular quantification across osmolarity-normalized samples. The postacute human traumatic brain injury urinary signature encompassed 2476 discriminant variables reproducibly measured in specimens for subject classification. Multiple subprofiles were then discerned in correlation with injury severity per the Glasgow Comma Scale and behavioral and neurocognitive function per the Patient Competency Rating Scale and Frontal Systems Behavioral Scale. Identified peptide constituents were enriched for outgrowth and guidance, extracellular matrix, and post-synaptic density proteins, which were reflective of ongoing post-acute neuroplastic processes demonstrating pathobiological relevance. Taken together, these findings support further development of diagnostics based on brain injury urinary signatures using either combinatorial quantitative models or pattern-recognition methods. Particularly, these findings espouse assay development to address unmet diagnostic and theragnostic needs in brain injury rehabilitative medicine.

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