Development of a systems-based in situ multiplex biomarker screening approach for the assessment of immunopathology and neural tissue plasticity in male rats after traumatic brain injury

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Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) pose a massive burden of disease and continue to be a leading cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. A major obstacle in developing effective treatments is the lack of comprehensive understanding of the underlying mechanisms that mediate tissue damage and recovery after TBI. As such, our work aims to highlight the development of a novel experimental platform capable of fully characterizing the underlying pathobiology that unfolds after TBI. This platform encompasses an empirically optimized multiplex immunohistochemistry staining and imaging system customized to screen for a myriad of biomarkers required to comprehensively evaluate the extent of neuroinflammation, neural tissue damage, and repair in response to TBI. Herein, we demonstrate that our multiplex biomarker screening platform is capable of evaluating changes in both the topographical location and functional states of resident and infiltrating cell types that play a role in neuropathology after controlled cortical impact injury to the brain in male Sprague–Dawley rats. Our results demonstrate that our multiplex biomarker screening platform lays the groundwork for the comprehensive characterization of changes that occur within the brain after TBI. Such work may ultimately lead to the understanding of the governing pathobiology of TBI, thereby fostering the development of novel therapeutic interventions tailored to produce optimal tissue protection, repair, and/or regeneration with minimal side effects, and may ultimately find utility in a wide variety of other neurological injuries, diseases, and disorders that share components of TBI pathobiology.

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