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J Neurotrauma. 2014 Mar 1;31(5):487-97. doi: 10.1089/neu.2013.3090. Epub 2013 Nov 20.

Reversal of established traumatic brain injury-induced, anxiety-like behavior in rats after delayed, post-injury neuroimmune suppression.

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1 Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado , Boulder, Colorado.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) increases the risk of neuropsychiatric disorders, particularly anxiety disorders. Yet, there are presently no therapeutic interventions to prevent the development of post-traumatic anxiety or effective treatments once it has developed. This is because, in large part, of a lack of understanding of the underlying pathophysiology. Recent research suggests that chronic neuroinflammatory responses to injury may play a role in the development of post-traumatic anxiety in rodent models. Acute peri-injury administration of immunosuppressive compounds, such as Ibudilast (MN166), have been shown to prevent reactive gliosis associated with immune responses to injury and also prevent lateral fluid percussion injury (LFPI)-induced anxiety-like behavior in rats. There is evidence in both human and rodent studies that post-traumatic anxiety, once developed, is a chronic, persistent, and drug-refractory condition. In the present study, we sought to determine whether neuroinflammation is associated with the long-term maintenance of post-traumatic anxiety. We examined the efficacy of an anti-inflammatory treatment in decreasing anxiety-like behavior and reactive gliosis when introduced at 1 month after injury. Delayed treatment substantially reduced established LFPI-induced freezing behavior and reactive gliosis in brain regions associated with anxiety and continued neuroprotective effects were evidenced 6 months post-treatment. These results support the conclusion that neuroinflammation may be involved in the development and maintenance of anxiety-like behaviors after TBI.

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