Effects of concussion on the blood-brain barrier in humans and rodents.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1177/2059700216684518
Traumatic brain injury and the long-term consequences of repeated concussions constitute mounting concerns in the United States, with 5.3 million individuals living with a traumatic brain injury-related disability. Attempts to understand mechanisms and possible therapeutic approaches to alleviate the consequences of repeat mild concussions or traumatic brain injury on cerebral vasculature depend on several aspects of the trauma, including: (1) the physical characteristics of trauma or insult that result in damage; (2) the time "window" after trauma in which neuropathological features develop; (3) methods to detect possible breakdown of the blood-brain barrier; and (4) understanding different consequences of a single concussion as compared with multiple concussions. We review the literature to summarize the current understanding of blood-brain barrier and endothelial cell changes post-neurotrauma in concussions and mild traumatic brain injury. Attention is focused on concussion and traumatic brain injury in humans, with a goal of pointing out the gaps in our knowledge and how studies of rodent model systems of concussion may help in filling these gaps. Specifically, we focus on disruptions that concussion causes to the blood-brain barrier and its multifaceted consequences. Importantly, the magnitude of post-concussion blood-brain barrier dysfunction may influence the time course and extent of neuronal recovery; hence, we include in this review comparisons of more severe traumatic brain injury to concussion where appropriate. Finally, we address the important, and still unresolved, issue of how best to detect possible breakdown in the blood-brain barrier following neurotrauma by exploring intravascular tracer injection in animal models to examine leakage into the brain parenchyma.