Impact Factor 2.635 | CiteScore 2.99
More on impact ›

Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurol. | doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.01120

Elevated serum levels of inflammation-related cytokines in mild traumatic brain injury are associated with cognitive performance

Yingxiang Sun1,  Lijun Bai2*, Xuan Niu1,  Zhuonan Wang1,  Bo Yin3,  Guang Hui Bai4,  Danbin Zhang4, Shuoqiu Gan1, 2, Chuanzhu Sun2,  Shan Wang2,  Feng Zhu1* and  Ming Zhang1*
  • 1First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education of Biomedical Information Engineering, School of Life Science and Technology, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China
  • 3Department of Neurosurgery, Second Affiliated Hospital & Yuying Children's Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, China
  • 4Department of Radiology, Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, China

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is the most common neurological insult and leads to long-lasting cognitive impairments. The immune system modulates brain functions and plays a key role in cognitive deficits, however, the relationship between TBI-induced changes in inflammation-related cytokine levels and cognitive consequences is unclear. This was investigated in the present study in two cohorts of individuals within 1 week of mTBI (n = 52, n = 43) and 54 matched healthy control subjects. Patients with mTBI were also followed up at 1 and 3 months post-injury. Measures included cognitive assessments and a 9-plex panel of serum cytokines including interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2), interferon-γ (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). The contribution of cytokine levels to cognitive function was evaluated by multivariate linear regression analysis. The results showed that serum levels of IL-1β, IL-6 and CCL2 were acutely elevated in mTBI patients relative to controls; CCL2 level was remained high over 3 months whereas IL-1β and IL-6 levels were declined by 3 months post-injury. A high level of CCL2 was associated with greater severity of post-concussion symptoms (which survived in the multiple testing correction); elevated IL-1β was associated with worse working memory in acute phase (which failed in correction); and acute high CCL2 level predicted higher information processing speed at 3 months post-injury (which failed in correction). Thus, acute serum cytokine levels are useful for evaluating post-concussion symptoms and predicting cognitive outcome in participants with mTBI.

Keywords: Inflammation-related cytokines, Post-concussion symptoms, cognitive performance, mild traumatic brain injury, follow-up

Received: 21 Aug 2019; Accepted: 08 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Sun, Bai, Niu, Wang, Yin, Bai, Zhang, Gan, Sun, Wang, Zhu and Zhang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Prof. Lijun Bai, Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education of Biomedical Information Engineering, School of Life Science and Technology, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, 710049, Shaanxi Province, China, bailijun@xjtu.edu.cn
PhD. Feng Zhu, First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, 710061, Shaanxi, China, zhufeng0714@163.com
Prof. Ming Zhang, First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, 710061, Shaanxi, China, zhangming01@xjtu.edu.cn