Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with increased blood content of fibrinogen (Fg), called hyperfibrinogenemia (HFg), which results in enhanced cerebrovascular permeability and leads to short-term memory (STM) reduction. Previously, we showed that extravasated Fg was deposited in the vasculo-astrocyte interface and was co-localized with cellular prion protein (PrP) during mild-to-moderate TBI in mice. These effects were accompanied by neurodegeneration and STM reduction. However, there was no evidence presented that the described effects were the direct result of the HFg during TBI. We now present data indicating that inhibition of Fg synthesis can ameliorate TBI-induced cerebrovascular permeability and STM reduction. Cortical contusion injury (CCI) was induced in C57BL/6J mice. Then mice were treated with either Fg antisense oligonucleotide (Fg-ASO) or with control-ASO for two weeks. Cerebrovascular permeability to fluorescently conjugated bovine serum albumin was assessed in cortical venules following evaluation of STM with a Y-maze test. Separately, brain samples were collected in order to define the expression of PrP via Western blotting while deposition and co-localization of Fg and PrP, as well as gene expression of inflammatory marker activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3), were characterized with real-time PCR. Results showed that inhibition of Fg synthesis with Fg-ASO reduced overexpression of AFT3, ameliorated enhanced cerebrovascular permeability, decreased expression of PrP and Fg deposition, decreased formation of Fg-PrP complexes in brain, and improved STM. These data provide direct evidence that a CCI-induced inflammation-mediated HFg could be a triggering mechanism involved in vascular cognitive impairment seen previously in our studies during mild-to-moderate TBI.
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