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The University of Southampton

Lay Summaries of studies supported by BRAIN UK by category: Trauma

BRAIN UK Ref: 12/008
Protein conformation changes in chronic traumatic encephalopathy and other tauopathies
Dr I Caesar, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York

Lay Summary not available.

Project Status: Closed

BRAIN UK Ref: 13/008
A post mortem study of progenitor cells following severe traumatic brain injury
Mr A Shtaya, University of Southampton

The impact of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) on both society and the individual is high. There is currently no specific treatment available for TBI other than supportive care, but aggressive pre-hospital resuscitation, rapid triage, and intensive care have reduced mortality rates. There is a growing body of evidence that progenitor/stem cells play a central role in TBI. Furthermore, cell death and inflammatory changes may regulate progenitor/stem cells production, survival and functional integration. However the mechanisms are poorly understood and more investigations are required to unveil the control mechanisms and/or perhaps the role of the stem cell and its niche in the traumatized brain. TBI may also cause degrees of cognitive impairment in affected subjects which may be related to hippocampal stem cells malfunction which requires investigations. It is obvious that rodent studies point towards a possible beneficial role for stem cells in TBI. Therefore, our aim is to establish the rate of stem cell proliferation and survival in peri-lesional and hippocampus of post mortem tissue from five TBI patients. This will be compared with samples from five non-TBI specimens. We hope this pilot study will help improve our understanding of the role of stem cells in head injury and help the development of future treatments.

Project Status: Active

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BRAIN UK Ref: 14/011
Molecular and conformational signature of chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Dr S Gandy, New York

The main goal of this BRAIN UK Project is to study CTE specimens either from distant archive (e.g., the Corsellis collection) or from currently available tissue across the UK. Professors James Nicoll and Stephen Gentleman are collaborators and specific tissue region requests will be based first on availability and second on regions known to be affected in CTE, as advised by collaborators Professor Patrick Hof and Professor Steven DeKosky. In all cases, any first runs of new protocols will employ relatively more abundant tissue and only for specific refined questions will more precious tissue be studied. The GE MultiOmyx system will be employed in order to co-visualize many antigens on the same slide.

Project Status: Closed

BRAIN UK Ref: 15/019
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) pathology in the brains of boxers
Prof. S Gentleman, Imperial College, London 

Dementia pugilistica or “punchdrunk syndrome” is a neurodegenerative disease associated with the repetitive traumatic brain injuries which occur in boxing. Patients present with behavioural changes, aggression, and ultimately dementia or Parkinsonism. However, it is now appreciated that a considerably larger population of individuals are affected by this condition, particularly athletes and military veterans. The more general term now used for the condition is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The seminal study on dementia pugilsitica was published in 1973 on a series of boxers in the Corsellis collection. We recently accessed these cases and confirmed that they show the distinctive pathology now associated with CTE. The aim of this study is to look in more detail at the changes that occur in these brains, particularly around the blood vessels, to gain some insight in to the pathological mechanisms that are involved. We will be using a newly developed technique, called CLARITY, that allows the tissue to be made transparent and reveal its detailed 3D structure. Ultimately we hope to better understand the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury on the brain.

Project Status: Active

Research Outputs: Publication; Abstract; Presentation x 12

DatePublication title
2018 The Aftermath of Boxing Revisited: Identifying Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Pathology in the Original Corsellis Boxer Series
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BRAIN UK Ref: 16/004
Neuropathological Characterization of 'CTE'
Dr William Stewart, University of Glasgow 

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes unexplained brain disease, which gets worse over time (called degeneration). This contributes to 5-10% of all dementia cases. This is a problem because we don’t have a way of defining this degenerative disease after a brain injury as a separate disease. Also, we don’t know how this degeneration happens. So we want to develop the criteria to diagnose this disorder and see how it is related to other degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimers.

We also want to look at the chemical make up of TBI and the genetic footprint in cases of degeneration in the brain after a TBI. We particularly want to look at the time scale and how inflammation may add to the degeneration. If we do this this could change our understanding of long-term exposure to TBI as well as opening up new ways of developing treatments for TBI.

To do this we want to bring together the international research community to develop collective intelligence and to work collaboratively. We will use a combination of face to face and advanced digital pathology ‘round microscope’ techniques to enable us to review case material quickly and to validate criteria. In time this archive will be available for the wider research community.

Project Status: Active

Research Outputs: Abstract x 2

Date Publication title 
 2019  Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a common co-morbidity, but less frequent primary dementia in former soccer and rugby players.
 2019  Induction of a transmissible tau pathology by traumatic brain injury.
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BRAIN UK Ref: 17/010
Characterisation of neuropathy and immune response following traumatic brain injury in children
Dr Kieren Allinson, Department of Pathology, Cambridge University Hospitals.

The brain has an immune system made up of a number of different cells. It is mainly controlled by cells called microglia. These cells are central to how the brain responds to infection and injury. After a traumatic brain injury, the brain swells, a response which appears to be linked to the activation of the microglia. The primary aim of treatment is to reduce swelling. This is to prevent further damage to the remaining functional brain cells. As the brain ages, the microglia become more dysfunctional and can react to injury more aggressively than usual. This means that there is often a need to control their behaviour. By studying the microglia in paediatric patients, to compare to our adult data set, we can understand how these processes change with age we can gain a better appreciation of how these cells are both recruited to the site of injury and also how they function.

Project Status: Active

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