Publication Date



Journal of Neuroinflammation



It is well established that traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes acute and chronic alterations in systemic immune function and that systemic immune changes contribute to posttraumatic neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. However, how TBI affects bone marrow (BM) hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells chronically and to what extent such changes may negatively impact innate immunity and neurological function has not been examined.


To further understand the role of BM cell derivatives on TBI outcome, we generated BM chimeric mice by transplanting BM from chronically injured or sham (i.e., 90 days post-surgery) congenic donor mice into otherwise healthy, age-matched, irradiated CD45.2 C57BL/6 (WT) hosts. Immune changes were evaluated by flow cytometry, multiplex ELISA, and NanoString technology. Moderate-to-severe TBI was induced by controlled cortical impact injury and neurological function was measured using a battery of behavioral tests.


TBI induced chronic alterations in the transcriptome of BM lineagec-Kit+Sca1+ (LSK+) cells in C57BL/6 mice, including modified epigenetic and senescence pathways. After 8 weeks of reconstitution, peripheral myeloid cells from TBI→WT mice showed significantly higher oxidative stress levels and reduced phagocytic activity. At eight months after reconstitution, TBI→WT chimeric mice were leukopenic, with continued alterations in phagocytosis and oxidative stress responses, as well as persistent neurological deficits. Gene expression analysis revealed BM-driven changes in neuroinflammation and neuropathology after 8 weeks and 8 months of reconstitution, respectively. Chimeric mice subjected to TBI at 8 weeks and 8 months post-reconstitution showed that longer reconstitution periods (i.e., time post-injury) were associated with increased microgliosis and leukocyte infiltration. Pre-treatment with a senolytic agent, ABT-263, significantly improved behavioral performance of aged C57BL/6 mice at baseline, although it did not attenuate neuroinflammation in the acutely injured brain.


TBI causes chronic activation and progressive dysfunction of the BM stem/progenitor cell pool, which drives long-term deficits in hematopoiesis, innate immunity, and neurological function, as well as altered sensitivity to subsequent brain injury.


Traumatic brain injury, Bone marrow transplantation, Long-term reconstitution, Hematopoiesis, Innate immunity, Neuroinflammation, Cellular senescence, Neurological function

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