Focal traumatic brain injury induces neuroplastic molecular responses in lumbar spinal cord

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background/Objectives: Motor impairment induced by traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be mediated through changes in spinal molecular systems regulating neuronal plasticity. We assessed whether a focal controlled cortical impact (CCI) TBI in the rat alters expression of the Tgfb1, c-Fos, Bdnf, and Gap43 neuroplasticity genes in lumbar spinal cord. Approach/Methods: Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 8) were subjected to a right-side CCI over the anterior sensorimotor hindlimb representation area or sham-injury (n = 8). Absolute expression levels of Tgfb1, c-Fos, Bdnf, and Gapd43 genes were measured by droplet digital PCR in ipsi-and contralesional, dorsal and ventral quadrants of the L4 and L5 spinal cord. The neuronal activity marker c-Fos was analysed by immunohistochemistry in the dorsal L4 and L5 segments. The contra- vs. ipsilesional expression pattern was examined as the asymmetry index, AI. Results: The Tgfb1 mRNA levels were significantly higher in the CCI vs. sham-injured rats, and in the contra- vs. ipsilesional dorsal domains in the CCI group. The number of c-Fos-positive cells was elevated in the L4 and L5 segments; and on the contralesional compared to the ipsilesional side in the CCI group. The c-Fos AI in the dorsal laminae was significantly increased by CCI. Conclusions: The results support the hypothesis that focal TBI induces plastic alterations in the lumbar spinal cord that may contribute to either motor recovery or maladaptive motor responses.


External organisations
  • Uppsala University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurology


  • c-Fos, plasticity, spinal cord, Tgfb1, Traumatic brain injury
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-96
Number of pages10
JournalRestorative Neurology and Neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch