Changes in Gene Expression Following Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Scheff, Stephen (PI)
  • Staben, Charles (CoI)

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The consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be divided into primary and secondary phases. The primary phase usually refers to the damage caused by the initial injury in which brain or spinal cord tissue is irreparably damaged. However, it is often the extent of the secondary phase that determines the extent of behavioral recovery. This is the phase in which tissue not directly destroyed by the injury will either recover, or undergo a process of slow death. It is clear from numerous studies that the secondary phase of traumatic brain injury is, at least in part, regulated by the level of expression of numerous genes. Some of these genes are thought to exacerbate neurodegeneration, whereas others appear to have restorative or trophic influences. Unfortunately, at the present time, the expression of only a handful of genes is being investigated with respect to their possible role in TBI. In the past three years, new technologies have been developed that allow simultaneous examination of hundreds or thousands of genes. We have been testing these technologies for the past year and have selected a method that will allow us to examine 11,000 genes in a single experiment. This represents up to 20% of the entire mouse genome. Indeed, preliminary studies from our labs using similar technology has revealed that head injury causes change in expression of hundreds of different genes and that each region of the brain may have unique patterns of expression. The short-term goal of the present proposal is to use emerging gene screening technologies to elucidate the unique patterns of gene expression elicited by TBI, and to identify new genes involved in TBI. The long-term goal is to identify the components of the molecular cascades that regulate the severity of TBI and use this information to develop new treatments for TBI.
Effective start/end date1/15/011/14/08


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