Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious condition that is associated with an increased risk of severe, long-term psychiatric consequences. Drugs that target the glutamatergic system have proven successful in treating both TBI and many of its psychiatric sequelae. Blood glutamate scavengers (BGS) cause a decrease in blood glutamate levels, leading to a reduction in glutamate’s concentration gradient from the brain to the blood and decreased levels of brain glutamate. This study evaluated the BGS pyruvate as a treatment for TBI-related neuropsychiatric conditions in a rat model. 213 rats were divided into four groups in a 2 × 2 design: Sham or TBI rats treated with pyruvate or control treatment. Magnetic resonance imaging, neurological status, brain glutamate and blood glutamate levels were assessed following the injury. Four weeks after the start of treatment, all rats underwent behavioral tests to assess anxious behavior and social impairment (aggressive and hierarchical behavior). Rats responded positively to pyruvate in several tasks, lowering brain glutamate levels and reducing anxiety and depression, as well as modulating TBI-related changes in social behavior. Glutamate scavenging with pyruvate may be an effective therapeutic option for post-TBI behavioral changes by reducing associated elevations in brain glutamate levels.
© 2023. The Author(s).