Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is becoming a global health concern and a leading cause of disability associated with cognitive deficit affecting their quality of life, even increasing risk of neurodegeneration, especially Alzheimer’s disease, in later life. The neuropathological effects can be separated into primary and secondary effects. Both can involve loss of tissue. However, we will also be concerned with more subtle abnormalities, including loss of specific types of neurons, and functional deficits in neuronal transmission that are not readily apparent from conventional neuropathological analysis. These latter deficits could include reduction in transmitter release and/or transmitter sensitivity. Recent studies suggest that environmental stimulation can have a profound effect on the consequences of insults to the brain, including TBI. We believe this reflects the capacity of environmental enrichment (EE) and associated physical exercise to reduce the neuropathology and neuronal dysfunction normally associated with such insults. We propose to examine this hypothesis in detail, focusing on the role of neurotrophic factors (NTFs). In this study, we aim to (1) characterize the effects of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) on motor and cognitive function in young adult male rats that remain in standard cages or are placed in an EE, (2) Examine the neurobiological effects of mTBI with and without EE, (3) examine the role played by NTFs in the protective effects of the environmental intervention.
|Effective start/end date||8/1/14 → 7/31/15|