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Preventing Secondary Damage After Traumatic Brain Injury - Targeted Oxidation-blocker

  • Synopsis: Published: 2012-08-26 (Rev. 2016-11-07) - Researchers developed agent XJB-5-131 which can cross the blood-brain barrier and prevent oxidation of cardiolipin. For further information pertaining to this article contact: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences.

Definition: Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury - A form of acquired brain injury, occurring when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain.

Symptoms of mild TBI include headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking.

Moderate/severe - A person with a moderate or severe TBI may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.

Main Document

Treatment with an agent that blocks the oxidation of an important component of the mitochondrial membrane prevented the secondary damage of severe traumatic brain injury and preserved function that would otherwise have been impaired, according to a research team from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Graduate School of Public Health and Department of Chemistry in a report published online today in Nature Neuroscience.

Annually, an estimated 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to traffic accidents, falls, assaults and sports participation, said the study's senior author Hulya Bayιr, M.D., associate professor, Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She added that 52,000 of those injured die, and 85,000 are left with significant disability.

"We don't yet have a specific therapy for TBI, but can provide only supportive care to try to ease symptoms," Dr. Bayιr said. "Our study drug shows promise as a neuroprotective agent that might help address this important public health problem."

For the study, the research team conducted a global assessment of all the phospholipids in rat brain cells. This revealed that damage from TBI was nonrandom and mostly involved cardiolipin, a phospholipid that is found in the membranes that form mitochondria, the cell's powerhouse. They noted that in the healthy animal, only 10 of the 190 cardiolipin species were modified by oxygen, but after a brain injury, the number of oxidized species rose many-fold.

The researchers then developed an agent, called XJB-5-131, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and prevent the oxidation of cardiolipin. Using an established research model of severe TBI, the agent or a placebo was injected into the bloodstream of rats five minutes and again 24 hours after head injury.

In the weeks that followed, treated animals performed akin to normal on tests of balance, agility and motor coordination, learning, and object recognition, while placebo-treated animals showed significant impairment. The results indicate that blocking cardiolipin oxidation by XJB-5-131 protected the brain from cell death.

"The primary head injury might not be that serious," Dr. Bayιr noted. "But that initial injury can set into motion secondary cellular and molecular events that cause more damage to the brain and that ultimately determine the outcome for the patient."

She added that a targeted oxidation-blocker might also be beneficial in the treatment of other neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and stroke.

Co-authors of the paper include lead author Jing Ji, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh's departments of Critical Care Medicine and Environmental and Occupational Health, the Center for Free Radical and Anti-oxidant Health, and the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research; Patrick M. Kochanek, M.D., of the Department of Critical Care Medicine and the Safar Center; Peter Wipf, Ph.D., of the Department of Chemistry; Valerian E. Kagan, Ph.D., of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and the Center for Free Radical and Anti-oxidant Health; Anthony E. Kline, Ph.D., of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as well as other Pitt researchers from the departments of Pediatrics and Neurological Surgery and of the Center for Neuroscience; as well as Noxygen Science Transfer and Diagnostics GmbH, Elzach, Germany.

The study was funded by National Institutes of Health grants NS061817, NS060005, NS076511, HL070755, ES020693, and U19AIO68021, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the U.S. Army.

As one of the nation's leading academic centers for biomedical research, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine integrates advanced technology with basic science across a broad range of disciplines in a continuous quest to harness the power of new knowledge and improve the human condition. Driven mainly by the School of Medicine and its affiliates, Pitt has ranked among the top 10 recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1997. In rankings recently released by the National Science Foundation, Pitt ranked fifth among all American universities in total federal science and engineering research and development support.

Likewise, the School of Medicine is equally committed to advancing the quality and strength of its medical and graduate education programs, for which it is recognized as an innovative leader, and to training highly skilled, compassionate clinicians and creative scientists well-equipped to engage in world-class research. The School of Medicine is the academic partner of UPMC, which has collaborated with the University to raise the standard of medical excellence in Pittsburgh and to position health care as a driving force behind the region's economy.



Related:

  1. Symptoms That Constitute a Traumatic Brain Injury - A TBI can be classified as either mild or severe and include a wide range of symptoms.
  2. Concussion - Signs, Symptoms and Treatment - Symptoms and treatment of concussion and post-concussive syndrome the most common type of traumatic brain injury.
  3. What Happens After Traumatic Brain Injury Occurs - Molecular imaging technique pinpoints critical changes that take place in the injured brain.



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