Role of Caspase-3-Mediated Apoptosis in Chronic Caspase-3-Cleaved Tau Accumulation and Blood-Brain Barrier Damage in the Corpus Callosum after Traumatic Brain Injury in Rats

Olena Y. Glushakova, Andriy O. Glushakov, Cesar V. Borlongan, Alex B. Valadka, Ronald L. Hayes, Alexander V. Glushakov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be a significant risk factor for development of neurodegenerative disorders such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE), and Alzheimer's (AD) and Parkinson's (PD) diseases. Chronic TBI is associated with several pathological features that are also characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases, including tau pathologies, caspase-3-mediated apoptosis, neuroinflammation, and microvascular alterations. The goal of this study was to evaluate changes following TBI in cleaved-caspase-3 and caspase-3-cleaved tau truncated at Asp421, and their relationships to cellular markers potentially associated with inflammation and blood-brain (BBB) barrier damage. We studied astrocytes (glial fibrillary acidic protein [GFAP]), microglia (ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1 [Iba1]), BBB (endothelial barrier antigen [EBA]), and activated microglia/macrophages (cluster of differentiation 68 [CD68]). We employed immunohistochemistry at different time points from 24 h to 3 months after controlled cortical impact (CCI) injury in rats, with particular interest in white matter. The study demonstrated that CCI caused chronic upregulation of cleaved-caspase-3 in the white matter of the corpus callosum. Increases in cleaved-caspase-3 in the corpus callosum were accompanied by accumulation of caspase-3-cleaved tau, with increasing perivascular aggregation 3 months after CCI. Immunofluorescence experiments further showed cellular co-localization of cleaved-caspase-3 with GFAP and CD68 and its adjacent localization with EBA, suggesting involvement of apoptosis and neuroinflammation in mechanisms of delayed BBB and microvascular damage that could contribute to white matter changes. This study also provides the first evidence that evolving upregulation of cleaved-caspase-3 is associated with accumulation of caspase-3-cleaved tau following experimental TBI, thus providing new insights into potential common mechanisms mediated by caspase-3 and underlying chronic TBI pathologies and neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-173
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • BBB
  • caspase-3-cleaved tau
  • chronic TBI
  • cleaved-caspase-3
  • GFAP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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