Acute peripheral inflammation and post-traumatic sleep differ between sexes after experimental diffuse brain injury

Maha Saber, Katherine R. Giordano, Yerin Hur, John B. Ortiz, Helena Morrison, Jonathan P. Godbout, Sean M. Murphy, Jonathan Lifshitz, Rachel K. Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Identifying differential responses between sexes following traumatic brain injury (TBI) can elucidate the mechanisms behind disease pathology. Peripheral and central inflammation in the pathophysiology of TBI can increase sleep in male rodents, but this remains untested in females. We hypothesized that diffuse TBI would increase inflammation and sleep in males more so than in females. Diffuse TBI was induced in C57BL/6J mice and serial blood samples were collected (baseline, 1, 5, 7 days post-injury [DPI]) to quantify peripheral immune cell populations and sleep regulatory cytokines. Brains and spleens were harvested at 7DPI to quantify central and peripheral immune cells, respectively. Mixed-effects regression models were used for data analysis. Female TBI mice had 77%–124% higher IL-6 levels than male TBI mice at 1 and 5DPI, whereas IL-1β and TNF-α levels were similar between sexes at all timepoints. Despite baseline sex differences in blood-measured Ly6Chigh monocytes (females had 40% more than males), TBI reduced monocytes by 67% in TBI mice at 1DPI. Male TBI mice had 31%–33% more blood-measured and 31% more spleen-measured Ly6G+ neutrophils than female TBI mice at 1 and 5DPI, and 7DPI, respectively. Compared with sham, TBI increased sleep in both sexes during the first light and dark cycles. Male TBI mice slept 11%–17% more than female TBI mice, depending on the cycle. Thus, sex and TBI interactions may alter the peripheral inflammation profile and sleep patterns, which might explain discrepancies in disease progression based on sex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2791-2814
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • concussion
  • cytokine
  • microglia
  • midline fluid percussion
  • mouse
  • neuroinflammation
  • post-traumatic sleep
  • sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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