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Neuroscience. 2014 Dec 5;281:16-23. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2014.08.045. Epub 2014 Sep 9.

Autoantibodies in traumatic brain injury and central nervous system trauma.

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Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon.
Department of Surgery, Division of General Surgery, American University of Beirut, Lebanon.
Faculty of Medicine, Saint George University of London, Nicosia, Cyprus.
Department of Psychiatry, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon. Electronic address:
Department of Neurosciences, University of Messina, Messina, Italy.
Department of Psychiatry, Center for Neuroproteomics and Biomarkers Research, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA. Electronic address:


Despite the debilitating consequences and the widespread prevalence of brain trauma insults including spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), there are currently few effective therapies for most of brain trauma sequelae. As a consequence, there has been a major quest for identifying better diagnostic tools, predictive models, and directed neurotherapeutic strategies in assessing brain trauma. Among the hallmark features of brain injury pathology is the central nervous systems' (CNS) abnormal activation of the immune response post-injury. Of interest, is the occurrence of autoantibodies which are produced following CNS trauma-induced disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and released into peripheral circulation mounted against self-brain-specific proteins acting as autoantigens. Recently, autoantibodies have been proposed as the new generation class of biomarkers due to their long-term presence in serum compared to their counterpart antigens. The diagnostic and prognostic value of several existing autoantibodies is currently being actively studied. Furthermore, the degree of direct and latent contribution of autoantibodies to CNS insult is still not fully characterized. It is being suggested that there may be an analogy of CNS autoantibodies secretion with the pathophysiology of autoimmune diseases, in which case, understanding and defining the role of autoantibodies in brain injury paradigm (SCI and TBI) may provide a realistic prospect for the development of effective neurotherapy. In this work, we will discuss the accumulating evidence about the appearance of autoantibodies following brain injury insults. Furthermore, we will provide perspectives on their potential roles as pathological components and as candidate markers for detecting and assessing CNS injury.


autoantibodies; biomarkers; brain injury; immune system; spinal cord injury

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