Association of Biomarkers of Neuronal Injury and Inflammation With Insomnia Trajectories After Traumatic Brain Injury: A TRACK-TBI Study

TRACK-TBI Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Insomnia affects about one-third of patients with traumatic brain injury and is associated with worsened outcomes after injury. We hypothesized that higher levels of plasma neuroinflammation biomarkers at the time of TBI would be associated with worse 12-month insomnia trajectories. METHODS: Participants were prospectively enrolled from 18 level-1 trauma centers participating in the Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury study from February 26, 2014, to August 8, 2018. Plasma glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), S100b, neuron-specific enolase (NSE), and ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1) were collected on days 1 (D1) and 14 (D14) after TBI. The insomnia severity index was collected at 2 weeks, 3, 6, and 12 months postinjury. Participants were classified into insomnia trajectory classes based on a latent class model. We assessed the association of biomarkers with insomnia trajectories, controlling for medical and psychological comorbidities and demographics. RESULTS: Two thousand twenty-two individuals with TBI were studied. Elevations in D1 hsCRP were associated with persistent insomnia (severe, odds ratio [OR] = 1.33 [1.11, 1.59], p = 0.002; mild, OR = 1.10 [1.02, 1.19], p = 0.011). Similarly, D14 hsCRP elevations were associated with persistent insomnia (severe, OR = 1.27 [1.02, 1.59], p = 0.03). Of interest, D1 GFAP was lower in persistent severe insomnia (median [Q1, Q3]: 154 [19, 445] pg/mL) compared with resolving mild (491 [154, 1,423], p < 0.001) and persistent mild (344 [79, 1,287], p < 0.001). D14 GFAP was similarly lower in persistent (11.8 [6.4, 19.4], p = 0.001) and resolving (13.9 [10.3, 20.7], p = 0.011) severe insomnia compared with resolving mild (20.6 [12.4, 39.6]. Accordingly, increases in D1 GFAP were associated with reduced likelihood of having persistent severe (OR = 0.76 [95% CI 0.63-0.92], p = 0.004) and persistent mild (OR = 0.88 [0.81, 0.96], p = 0.003) compared with mild resolving insomnia. No differences were found with other biomarkers. DISCUSSION: Elevated plasma hsCRP and, surprisingly, lower GFAP were associated with adverse insomnia trajectories after TBI. Results support future prospective studies to examine their utility in guiding insomnia care after TBI. Further work is needed to explore potential mechanistic connections between GFAP levels and the adverse insomnia trajectories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e209269
Issue number8
StatePublished - 23 Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes


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