Epigenetic Effects on Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery

2019-12-10 01:20:57 | BioPortfolio


Methylation of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene is involved in both the biological encoding of childhood adversity and neuroplasticity following traumatic brain injury (TBI). This research will characterize BDNF methylation during recovery from TBI in children and investigate this novel biomarker as a potential biological mechanism underlying the known association between childhood adversity and poorer neurobehavioral outcomes following TBI in childhood. Findings from this research will contribute to an improved understanding of why some children display good recovery following TBI, whereas many others suffer from chronic neurobehavioral impairments.


Unexplained heterogeneity in outcomes following pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most critical barriers to the development of effective prognostic tools and therapeutics. The addition of personal biological factors to our prediction models may account for a significant portion of unexplained variance and advance the field towards precision rehabilitation medicine. The overarching goal of the Epigenetic Effects on Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery (EETR) study is to investigate an epigenetic biomarker involved in both childhood adversity and post-injury neuroplasticity to better understand heterogeneity in neurobehavioral outcomes following pediatric TBI. The primary hypothesis is that childhood adversity will be associated with poorer neurobehavioral recovery in part through an epigenetically mediated reduction in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in response to TBI.

EETR is an observational, prospective, longitudinal concurrent cohort study of children aged 3-18 years with either TBI (n=200) or orthopedic injury (n=100), recruited from the UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Participants complete study visits acutely and at 6- and 12-months post-injury. Blood and saliva biosamples are collected at all time points—and CSF when available acutely—for epigenetic and proteomic analysis of BDNF. Additional measures assess injury characteristics, pre- and post-injury child neurobehavioral functioning, childhood adversity, and potential covariates/confounders. Analyses will characterize BDNF DNA methylation and protein levels over the recovery period and investigate this novel biomarker as a potential biological mechanism underlying the known association between childhood adversity and poorer neurobehavioral outcomes following pediatric TBI.

Study Design


Traumatic Brain Injury


UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
United States




University of Pittsburgh

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-12-10T01:20:57-0500

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Prolonged unconsciousness from which the individual cannot be aroused, associated with traumatic injuries to the BRAIN. This may be defined as unconsciousness persisting for 6 hours or longer. Coma results from injury to both cerebral hemispheres or the RETICULAR FORMATION of the BRAIN STEM. Contributing mechanisms include DIFFUSE AXONAL INJURY and BRAIN EDEMA. (From J Neurotrauma 1997 Oct;14(10):699-713)

A form of acquired brain injury which occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain.

Acute and chronic (see also BRAIN INJURIES, CHRONIC) injuries to the brain, including the cerebral hemispheres, CEREBELLUM, and BRAIN STEM. Clinical manifestations depend on the nature of injury. Diffuse trauma to the brain is frequently associated with DIFFUSE AXONAL INJURY or COMA, POST-TRAUMATIC. Localized injuries may be associated with NEUROBEHAVIORAL MANIFESTATIONS; HEMIPARESIS, or other focal neurologic deficits.

Traumatic injuries to the cranium where the integrity of the skull is not compromised and no bone fragments or other objects penetrate the skull and dura mater. This frequently results in mechanical injury being transmitted to intracranial structures which may produce traumatic brain injuries, hemorrhage, or cranial nerve injury. (From Rowland, Merritt's Textbook of Neurology, 9th ed, p417)

Bleeding within the brain as a result of penetrating and nonpenetrating CRANIOCEREBRAL TRAUMA. Traumatically induced hemorrhages may occur in any area of the brain, including the CEREBRUM; BRAIN STEM (see BRAIN STEM HEMORRHAGE, TRAUMATIC); and CEREBELLUM.

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