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Kaempferol Treatment after Traumatic Brain Injury during Early Development Mitigates Brain Parenchymal Microstructure and Neural Functional Connectivity Deterioration at Adolescence.


Targeting mitochondrial ion homeostasis using Kaempferol, a mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter channel activator, improves energy metabolism and behavior soon after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in developing rats. Because of broad TBI pathophysiology and brain mitochondrial heterogeneity, Kaempferol-mediated early-stage behavioral and brain metabolic benefits may accrue from diverse sources within the brain. We hypothesized that Kaempferol influences TBI outcome by differentially impacting the neural, vascular, and synaptic/axonal compartments. After TBI at early development (P31), functional magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were applied to determine imaging outcomes at adolescence (2 months post-injury). Vehicle and Kaempferol treatments were made at 1, 24, and 48 h post-TBI, and their effects were assessed at adolescence. A significant increase in neural connectivity was observed after Kaempferol treatment as assessed by the spatial extent and strength of the somatosensory cortical and hippocampal resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) networks. However, no significant RSFC changes were observed in the thalamus. DTI measures of fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient, representing synaptic/axonal and microstructural integrity, showed significant improvements after Kaempferol treatment, with highest changes in the frontal and parietal cortices and hippocampus. Kaempferol treatment also increased corpus callosal FA, indicating measurable improvement in the interhemispheric structural connectivity. TBI prognosis was significantly altered at adolescence by early Kaempferol treatment, with improved neural connectivity, neurovascular coupling, and parenchymal microstructure in select brain regions. However, Kaempferol failed to improve vasomotive function across the whole brain, as measured by cerebrovascular reactivity. The differential effects of Kaempferol treatment on various brain functional compartments support diverse cellular-level mitochondrial functional outcomes in vivo.

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