α-synuclein levels are elevated in cerebrospinal fluid following traumatic brain injury in infants and children: The effect of therapeutic hypothermia

Erik Su, Michael J. Bell, Stephen R. Wisniewski, P. David Adelson, Keri L. Janesko-Feldman, Rosanne Salonia, Robert S.B. Clark, Patrick M. Kochanek, Valerian E. Kagan, Hülya Bayir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

α-Synuclein is one of the most abundant proteins in presynaptic terminals. Normal expression of α-synuclein is essential for neuronal survival and it prevents the initiation of apoptosis in neurons through covalent cross-linking of cytochrome c released from mitochondria. Exocytosis of α-synuclein occurs with neuronal mitochondrial dysfunction, making its detection in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of children after severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) a potentially important marker of injury. Experimental therapeutic hypothermia (TH) improves mitochondrial function and attenuates cell death, and therefore may also affect CSF α-synuclein concentrations. We assessed α-synuclein levels in CSF of 47 infants and children with severe TBI using a commercial ELISA for detection of monomeric protein. 23 patients were randomized to TH based on published protocols where cooling (32-33°C) was initiated within 6-24 h, maintained for 48 h, and then followed by slow rewarming. CSF samples were obtained continuously via an intraventricular catheter for 6 days after TBI. Control CSF (n = 9) was sampled from children receiving lumbar puncture for CSF analysis of infection that was proven negative. Associations of initial Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, age, gender, treatment, mechanism of injury and Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score with CSF α-synuclein were compared by multivariate regression analysis. CSF α-synuclein levels were elevated in TBI patients compared to controls (p = 0.0093), with a temporal profile showing an early, approximately 5-fold increase on days 1-3 followed by a delayed, >10-fold increase on days 4-6 versus control. α-Synuclein levels were higher in patients treated with normothermia versus hypothermia (p = 0.0033), in patients aged <4 years versus ≥4 years (p < 0.0001), in females versus males (p = 0.0007), in nonaccidental TBI versus accidental TBI victims (p = 0.0003), and in patients with global versus focal injury on computed tomography of the brain (p = 0.046). Comparisons of CSF α-synuclein levels with initial GCS and GOS scores were not statistically significant. Further studies are needed to evaluate the conformational status of α-synuclein in CSF, and whether TH affects α-synuclein aggregation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-395
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Neuroscience
Volume32
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Abusive head injury
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell death
  • Mitochondrial injury
  • Nonaccidental head injury
  • Oxidative stress
  • Secondary injury
  • Synaptic dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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