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ASN Neuro. 2014 May 8;6(3):159-70. doi: 10.1042/AN20130034.

Temporal patterns of cortical proliferation of glial cell populations after traumatic brain injury in mice.

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‡Developmental Neurobiology Section, Division of Intramural Research, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, U.S.A.


TBI (traumatic brain injury) triggers an inflammatory cascade, gliosis and cell proliferation following cell death in the pericontusional area and surrounding the site of injury. In order to better understand the proliferative response following CCI (controlled cortical impact) injury, we systematically analyzed the phenotype of dividing cells at several time points post-lesion. C57BL/6 mice were subjected to mild to moderate CCI over the left sensory motor cortex. At different time points following injury, mice were injected with BrdU (bromodeoxyuridine) four times at 3-h intervals and then killed. The greatest number of proliferating cells in the pericontusional region was detected at 3 dpi (days post-injury). At 1 dpi, NG2+ cells were the most proliferative population, and at 3 and 7 dpi the Iba-1+ microglial cells were proliferating more. A smaller, but significant number of GFAP+ (glial fibrillary acidic protein) astrocytes proliferated at all three time points. Interestingly, at 3 dpi we found a small number of proliferating neuroblasts [DCX+ (doublecortin)] in the injured cortex. To determine the cell fate of proliferative cells, mice were injected four times with BrdU at 3 dpi and killed at 28 dpi. Approximately 70% of proliferative cells observed at 28 dpi were GFAP+ astrocytes. In conclusion, our data suggest that the specific glial cell types respond differentially to injury, suggesting that each cell type responds to a specific pattern of growth factor stimulation at each time point after injury.

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