Role for mammalian chitinase 3-like protein 1 in traumatic brain injury

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Abstract

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is accompanied by inflammatory infiltrates and CNS tissue response. The astrocytosis associated with TBI has been proposed to have both beneficial and detrimental effects on surviving neural tissue. We recently observed prominent astrocytic expression of YKL-40/chitinase 3-like protein 1 (CHI3L1) associated with severity of brain injury. The physiological role of CHI3L1 in the CNS is unknown; however, its distribution at the perimeter of contusions and temporal course of expression suggested that in TBI it might be an important component of the astrocytic response to modulate CNS inflammation. To address this hypothesis, we used serially sectioned brains to quantitatively compare the neuropathological outcomes of TBI produced by controlled cortical impact in wild type (WT) andchi3l1knockout (KO) mice where the murine YKL-40 homologue,breast regression protein 39 (BRP-39/CHI3l1), had been homozygously disrupted. At 21 days post-injury,chi3l1KO mice displayed greater astrocytosis (increased GFAP staining) in the hemispheres ipsilateral and contralateral to impact compared with WT mice. Similarly, Iba1 expression as a measure of microglial/macrophage response was significantly increased inchi3l1KO compared with WT in the hemisphere contralateral to impact. We conclude that astrocytic expression of CHI3L1 limits the extent of both astrocytic and microglial/macrophage facets of neuroinflammation and suggests a novel potential therapeutic target for modulating neuroinflammation.

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