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Molecular imaging of neuroinflammation in patients after mild traumatic brain injury: a longitudinal 123 I-CLINDE single photon emission computed tomography study

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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Neuroinflammation has been proposed as part of the pathogenesis of post-concussion symptoms (PCS), but the inflammatory response of the human brain to mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) remains unknown. We hypothesized that a neuroinflammatory response is present in mTBI at 1-2 weeks post-injury and persists in patients with PCS.

METHODS: We scanned 14 patients with mTBI without signs of structural damage at 1-2 weeks and 3-4 months post-injury and 22 healthy controls once using the single photon emission computed tomography tracer 123 I-CLINDE, which visualizes translocator protein (TSPO), a protein upregulated in active immune cells. PCS was defined as three or more persisting symptoms from the Rivermead Post Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire at 3 months post-injury.

RESULTS: Across brain regions, patients had significantly higher 123 I-CLINDE binding to TSPO than healthy controls, both at 1-2 weeks after the injury in all patients (P = 0.011) and at 3-4 months in the seven patients with PCS (P = 0.006) and in the six patients with good recovery (P = 0.018). When the nine brain regions were tested separately and results were corrected for multiple comparisons, no individual region differed significantly, but all estimated parameters indicated increased 123 I-CLINDE binding to TSPO, ranging from 2% to 19% in all patients at 1-2 weeks, 13% to 27% in patients with PCS at 3-4 months and -9% to 17% in patients with good recovery at 3-4 months.

CONCLUSIONS: Neuroinflammation was present in mTBI at 1-2 weeks post-injury and persisted at 3-4 months post-injury with a tendency to be most pronounced in patients with PCS.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Volume26
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1426-1432
Number of pages7
ISSN1351-5101
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • concussion, inflammation, microglia, mild traumatic brain injury, neuroinflammation, post-concussion symptoms, post-concussion syndrome, translocator protein

ID: 57348385