Mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) are prevalent worldwide. mTBIs can impair hippocampal-based functions such as memory and cause network hyperexcitability of the dentate gyrus (DG), a key entry point to hippocampal circuitry. One candidate for mediating mTBI-induced hippocampal cognitive and physiological dysfunction is injury-induced changes in the process of DG neurogenesis. There are conflicting results on how TBI impacts the process of DG neurogenesis; this is not surprising given that both the neurogenesis process and the post-injury period are dynamic, and that the quantification of neurogenesis varies widely in the literature. Even within the minority of TBI studies focusing specifically on mild injuries, there is disagreement about if and how mTBI changes the process of DG neurogenesis. Here we utilized a clinically relevant rodent model of mTBI (lateral fluid percussion injury, LFPI), gold-standard markers and quantification of the neurogenesis process, and three time points post-injury to generate a comprehensive picture of how mTBI affects adult hippocampal DG neurogenesis. Male C57BL/6J mice (6-8 weeks old) received either sham surgery or mTBI via LFPI. Proliferating cells, neuroblasts/immature neurons, and surviving cells were quantified via stereology in DG subregions (subgranular zone [SGZ], outer granule cell layer [oGCL], molecular layer, and hilus) at short-term (3 days post-injury, dpi), intermediate (7 dpi), and long-term (31 dpi) time points. The data show this model of mTBI induces transient, sequential increases in ipsilateral SGZ/GCL proliferating cells, neuroblasts/immature neurons, and surviving cells which is suggestive of mTBI-induced neurogenesis. In contrast to these ipsilateral hemisphere findings, measures in the contralateral hemisphere were not increased in key neurogenic DG subregions after LFPI. Our work in this mTBI model is in line with most literature on other and more severe models of TBI in showing TBI stimulates the process of DG neurogenesis. However, as our DG data in mTBI provide temporal, subregional, and neurogenesis-stage resolution, these data are important to consider in regard to the functional importance of TBI-induction of the neurogenesis process and future work assessing the potential of replacing and/or repairing DG neurons in the brain after TBI.
- dentate gyrus
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