The cytokine temporal profile in rat cortex after controlled cortical impact

Clifton L. Dalgard, Jeffrey T. Cole, William S. Kean, Jessica J. Lucky, Gauthaman Sukumar, David C. McMullen, Harvey B. Pollard, William D. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Cerebral inflammatory responses may initiate secondary cascades following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Changes in the expression of both cytokines and chemokines may activate, regulate, and recruit innate and adaptive immune cells associated with secondary degeneration, as well as alter a host of other cellular processes. In this study, we quantified the temporal expression of a large set of inflammatory mediators in rat cortical tissue after brain injury. Following a controlled cortical impact (CCI) on young adult male rats, cortical and hippocampal tissue of the injured hemisphere and matching contralateral material was harvested at early (4, 12, and 24 hours) and extended (3 and 7 days) time points post-procedure. Naïve rats that received only anesthesia were used as controls. Processed brain homogenates were assayed for chemokine and cytokine levels utilizing an electrochemiluminescence-based multiplex ELISA platform. The temporal profile of cortical tissue samples revealed a multi-phasic injury response following brain injury. CXCL1, IFN-γ, TNF-α levels significantly peaked at four hours post-injury compared to levels found in naïve or contralateral tissue. CXCL1, IFN-γ, and TNF-α levels were then observed to decrease at least 3-fold by 12 hours post-injury. IL-1β, IL-4, and IL-13 levels were also significantly elevated at four hours post-injury although their expression did not decrease more than 3-fold for up to 24 hours post-injury. Additionally, IL-1β and IL-4 levels displayed a biphasic temporal profile in response to injury, which may suggest their involvement in adaptive immune responses. Interestingly, peak levels of CCL2 and CCL20 were not observed until after four hours post-injury. CCL2 levels in injured cortical tissue were significantly higher than peak levels of any other inflammatory mediator measured, thus suggesting a possible use as a biomarker. Fully elucidating chemokine and cytokine signaling properties after brain injury may provide increased insight into a number of secondary cascade events that are initiated or regulated by inflammatory responses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Neuroscience
Issue numberJANUARY 2012
StatePublished - 25 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokines
  • Il - 8
  • Inflammation
  • Inflammatory response
  • Traumatic brain injury


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