The Effects of Social Isolation on Behavioral and Neuroimmune Response to Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)

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Description
"Mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) are a major health problem, with acute and long lasting effects on the nervous system and associated cognition and behavior. Decreased social interaction is ubiquitously prescribed as treatment for mTBI; at the same time, social isolation is a known stressor in humans and animals (Jones, 2011; Mumatz, 2018). Little research has evaluated how stress from social isolation impacts mTBI recovery, so this project investigates the behavioral and neuroimmune consequences of social isolation and mTBI in mice. Memory deficits are common after mTBI, particularly in tasks requiring hippocampal function, so I established a hippocampal-mediated fear conditioning protocol to assess the effects of mTBI. Mice received two closed head injuries and then were pair housed or singly housed for two weeks prior to contextual fear conditioning. Mice displayed fear acquisition fear, with impacted mice frozen significantly less than sham mice on the second day of conditioning. Mice showed discrimination with significantly more freezing in the conditioned context, and extinction as freezing decreased across three days of context testing. Impact condition had no significant effect in discrimination or extinction, and housing had no significant effect on any behavioral measure. IBA-1 staining increased only in the ipsilateral frontal cortex of impacted mice. Future studies could include a frontally mediated task or could shift the location of impacts to the hippocampus to see more significant effects of impact on behavior. Changing the timeline of the study could potentially lead to a significant impact of housing on behavior and neurimmune response. "

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* We're sorry. Some content is restricted until Friday 29th of May, 2026.
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