Traumatic brain injury (TBI) leads to long-term impairments in motor and cognitive function. TBI initiates a secondary injury cascade including a neuro-inflammatory response that is detrimental to tissue repair and limits recovery. Anti-inflammatory corticosteroids such as dexamethasone can reduce the deleterious effects of secondary injury; but challenges associated with dosing, administration route, and side effects have hindered their clinical application. Previously, we developed a hydrolytically degradable hydrogel (PEG-bis-AA/HA-DXM) composed of poly (ethylene) glycol-bis-(acryloyloxy acetate) (PEG-bis-AA) and dexamethasone-conjugated hyaluronic acid (HA-DXM) for local and sustained dexamethasone delivery. In this study, we evaluated the effect of locally applied PEG-bis-AA/HA-DXM hydrogel on secondary injury and motor function recovery after moderate controlled cortical impact (CCI) TBI. Hydrogel treatment significantly improved motor function evaluated by beam walk and rotarod tests compared to untreated rats over 7 days post-injury (DPI). We also observed that the hydrogel treatment reduced lesion volume, inflammatory response, astrogliosis, apoptosis, and increased neuronal survival compared to untreated rats at 7 DPI. These results suggest that PEG-bis-AA/HA-DXM hydrogels can mitigate secondary injury and promote motor functional recovery following moderate TBI.
- PEG-bis-AA/HA-DXM hydrogel
- Secondary injury, neuroinflammation, motor function
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)