Up to 50% of traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors demonstrate persisting affective symptoms indicative of limbic system dysregulation, yet the pathophysiology underlying the symptoms is unclear. We hypothesize that TBI-induced pathophysiologic changes within distinct amygdala nuclei contribute to the expression of late-onset anxiety-like behavior. Adult, male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent midline fluid percussion injury or sham surgery. Anxiety-like behavior was assessed at 7 and 28 days post-injury (DPI) followed by assessment of real-time glutamate neurotransmission in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) using glutamate-selective microelectrode arrays. In separate animal cohorts, the presence of neuropathology, astrocytosis, and microglial activation were assessed at 1, 7, and 28DPI. Protein levels of glutamatergic transporters (Glt-1, GLAST) and presynaptic modulators of glutamate release (mGluR2, TrkB, BDNF, and glucocorticoid receptors) were quantified using automated capillary western techniques at 28DPI. The expression of anxiety-like behavior at 28DPI coincided with decreased glutamate release and slower glutamate clearance in the CeA, not BLA. Changes in glutamate neurotransmission were independent of protein levels of glutamate transporters and mGluR2 receptors, neuropathology, and astrocytosis. At 1DPI, microglia in the CeA demonstrated a neuroinflammatory response. BDNF and TrkB were decreased at 28DPI in the amygdala. These data indicate that diffuse axonal injury instigates sequences of molecular, structural and functional changes in the amygdala that contribute to circuit dysregulation relevant to the expression of affective disorders. Translationally, diffuse axonal injury can influence severity and incidence of affective symptoms and should be addressed in the history of patients with affective disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)