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Up-regulation of Wnt/β-catenin expression is accompanied with vascular repair after traumatic brain injury


Recent data suggest that repairing the cerebral vasculature after traumatic brain injury (TBI) may help to improve functional recovery. The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway promotes blood vessel formation during vascular development, but its role in vascular repair after TBI remains elusive. In this study, we examined how the cerebral vasculature responds to TBI and the role of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in vascular repair. We induced a moderate controlled cortical impact in adult mice and performed vessel painting to visualize the vascular alterations in the brain. Brain tissue around the injury site was assessed for β-catenin and vascular markers. A Wnt transgenic mouse line was utilized to evaluate Wnt gene expression. We report that TBI results in vascular loss followed by increases in vascular structure at seven days post injury (dpi). Immature, non-perfusing vessels were evident in the tissue around the injury site. β-catenin protein expression was significantly reduced in the injury site at 7 dpi. However, there was an increase in β-catenin expression in perilesional vessels at 1 and 7 dpi. Similarly, we found increased number of Wnt-GFP-positive vessels after TBI. Our findings suggest that Wnt/β-catenin expression contributes to the vascular repair process after TBI.

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