Chronic Cognitive and Cerebrovascular Function after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Rats

Daniel R. Griffiths, L. Matthew Law, Conor Young, Alberto Fuentes, Seth Truran, Nina Karamanova, Laura C. Bell, Gregory Turner, Hannah Emerson, Diego Mastroeni, Rayna J. Gonzales, Peter D. Reaven, C. Chad Quarles, Raymond Q. Migrino, Jonathan Lifshitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in cognitive dysfunction in part due to vascular perturbations. In contrast, the long-term vasculo-cognitive pathophysiology of mild TBI (mTBI) remains unknown. We evaluated mTBI effects on chronic cognitive and cerebrovascular function and assessed their interrelationships. Sprague-Dawley rats received midline fluid percussion injury (n = 20) or sham (n = 21). Cognitive function was assessed (3- and 6-month novel object recognition [NOR], novel object location [NOL], and temporal order object recognition [TOR]). Six-month cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebral blood volume (CBV) using contrast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ex vivo circle of Willis artery endothelial and smooth muscle-dependent function were measured. mTBI rats showed significantly impaired NOR, with similar trends (non-significant) in NOL/TOR. Regional CBF and CBV were similar in sham and mTBI. NOR correlated with CBF in lateral hippocampus, medial hippocampus, and primary somatosensory barrel cortex, whereas it inversely correlated with arterial smooth muscle-dependent dilation. Six-month baseline endothelial and smooth muscle-dependent arterial function were similar among mTBI and sham, but post-angiotensin 2 stimulation, mTBI showed no change in smooth muscle-dependent dilation from baseline response, unlike the reduction in sham. mTBI led to chronic cognitive dysfunction and altered angiotensin 2-stimulated smooth muscle-dependent vasoreactivity. The findings of persistent pathophysiological consequences of mTBI in this animal model add to the broader understanding of chronic pathophysiological sequelae in human mild TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1429-1441
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number19-20
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • cerebrovascular function
  • dementia
  • endothelial function
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • traumatic brain injury
  • vascular smooth muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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