Traumatic brain injury has been described as the signature affliction of recent military conflicts and repetitive TBIs, particularly associated with military and athletic activities, typically result in more severe clinical effects. The majority of TBIs are mild, but they can result in long term cognitive deficits for which there is no effective treatment. One of the most significant deficits observed in TBI patients is memory loss, which suggests that TBI can induce pathological changes within the hippocampus. tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ) and pioglitazone activate the Nrf2 and PPAR-γ transcription factors, respectively, and both have been shown to be neuroprotective in model systems. We examined the morphological changes within the hippocampus following repetitive mild TBI and simultaneous treatment with both factors. We utilized a closed head injury mouse model with five injuries over 5 weeks. Our results showed marked morphological changes among the dendrites and dendritic spines of the neurons of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. We observed decreases in overall dendritic length, as well as in the quantity and density of dendritic spines. Our treatment partially ameliorated these effects, suggesting that the Nrf2 and PPAR-γ transcription factors may be important targets for future drug development in the treatment of TBI in humans.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.