Evidence for impaired plasticity after traumatic brain injury in the developing brain

Nan Li, Ya Yang, David P. Glover, Jiangyang Zhang, Manda Saraswati, Courtney Robertson, Galit Pelled

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The robustness of plasticity mechanisms during brain development is essential for synaptic formation and has a beneficial outcome after sensory deprivation. However, the role of plasticity in recovery after acute brain injury in children has not been well defined. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability among children, and long-term disability from pediatric TBI can be particularly devastating. We investigated the altered cortical plasticity 2-3 weeks after injury in a pediatric rat model of TBI. Significant decreases in neurophysiological responses across the depth of the noninjured, primary somatosensory cortex (S1) in TBI rats, compared to age-matched controls, were detected with electrophysiological measurements of multi-unit activity (86.4% decrease), local field potential (75.3% decrease), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (77.6% decrease). Because the corpus callosum is a clinically important white matter tract that was shown to be consistently involved in post-traumatic axonal injury, we investigated its anatomical and functional characteristics after TBI. Indeed, corpus callosum abnormalities in TBI rats were detected with diffusion tensor imaging (9.3% decrease in fractional anisotropy) and histopathological analysis (14% myelination volume decreases). Whole-cell patch clamp recordings further revealed that TBI results in significant decreases in spontaneous firing rate (57% decrease) and the potential to induce long-term potentiation in neurons located in layer V of the noninjured S1 by stimulation of the corpus callosum (82% decrease). The results suggest that post-TBI plasticity can translate into inappropriate neuronal connections and dramatic changes in the function of neuronal networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-403
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 15 2014

Keywords

  • brain injury
  • development
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • plasticity
  • somatosensory cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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