Behavioral and pathophysiological outcomes associated with caffeine consumption and repetitive mild traumatic brain injury (RmTBI) in adolescent rats

Glenn R. Yamakawa, Connor Lengkeek, Sabrina Salberg, Simon C. Spanswick, Richelle Mychasiuk

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Given that caffeine consumption is exponentially rising in adolescents and they are at increased risk for repetitive mild traumatic brain injury (RmTBI), we sought to examine the pathophysiological outcomes associated with early life caffeine consumption and RmTBI. Adolescent male and female Sprague Dawley rats received either caffeine in the drinking water or normal water and were then randomly assigned to 3 mild injuries using our lateral impact device or 3 sham procedures. Following injury induction, behavioral outcomes were measured with a test battery designed to examine symptoms consistent with clinical manifestation of PCS (balance and motor coordination, anxiety, short-term working memory, and depressive-like behaviours). In addition, pathophysiological outcomes were examined with histological measures of volume and cellular proliferation in the dentate gyrus, as well as microglia activation in the ventromedial hypothalamus. Finally, modifications to expression of 12 genes (Adora2a, App, Aqp4, Bdnf, Bmal1, Clock, Cry, Gfap, Orx1, Orx2, Per, Tau), in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and/or the hypothalamus were assessed. We found that chronic caffeine consumption in adolescence altered normal developmental trajectories, as well as recovery from RmTBI. Of particular importance, many of the outcomes exhibited sex-dependent responses whereby the sex of the animal modified response to caffeine, RmTBI, and the combination of the two. These results suggest that caffeine consumption in adolescents at high risk for RmTBI should be monitored.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0187218
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

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