Comprehensive evaluation of mitochondrial redox profile, calcium dynamics, membrane integrity and apoptosis markers in a preclinical model of severe penetrating traumatic brain injury

Jignesh D. Pandya*, Sudeep Musyaju, Hiren R. Modi, Ying Cao, William J. Flerlage, Linda Huynh, Brittany Kociuba, Nishant P. Visavadiya, Firas Kobeissy, Kevin Wang, Janice S. Gilsdorf, Anke H. Scultetus, Deborah A. Shear

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is caused by the external physical assaults damages the brain. It is a heterogeneous disorder that remains a leading cause of death and disability in the military and civilian population of the United States. Preclinical investigations of mitochondrial responses in TBI have ascertained that mitochondrial dysfunction is an acute indicator of cellular damage and plays a pivotal role in long-term injury progression through cellular excitotoxicity. The current study was designed to provide an in-depth evaluation of mitochondrial endpoints with respect to redox and calcium homeostasis, and cell death responses following penetrating TBI (PTBI). To evaluate these pathological cascades, anesthetized adult male rats (N = 6/group) were subjected to either 10% unilateral PTBI or Sham craniectomy. Animals were euthanized at 24 h post-PTBI, and purified mitochondrial fractions were isolated from the brain injury core and perilesional areas. Overall, increased reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) production, and elevated oxidative stress markers such as 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NT), and protein carbonyls (PC) were observed in the PTBI group compared to Sham. Mitochondrial antioxidants such as glutathione, peroxiredoxin (PRX-3), thioredoxin (TRX), nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (CAT) levels were significantly decreased after PTBI. Likewise, PTBI mitochondria displayed significant loss of Ca2+ homeostasis, early opening of mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP), and increased mitochondrial swelling. Both, outer and inner mitochondrial membrane integrity markers, such as voltage-dependent anion channels (VDAC) and cytochrome c (Cyt C) expression were significantly decreased following PTBI. The apoptotic cell death was evidenced by significantly decreased B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) and increased glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) expression after PTBI. Collectively, current results highlight the comprehensive picture of mitochondria-centric acute pathophysiological responses following PTBI, which may be utilized as novel prognostic indicators of disease progression and theragnostic indicators for evaluating neuroprotection therapeutics following TBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-58
Number of pages15
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
StatePublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidants and oxidative stress
  • Apoptosis
  • Calcium dynamics
  • Membrane integrity
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Penetrating traumatic brain injury


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