After a traumatic brain injury, secondary swelling can put pressure on the brain. The swelling could also damage the blood-brain barrier, which protects the brain from infection and foreign contaminants. Weaknesses in the barrier may leave the brain exposed and vulnerable.
Researchers conducting a recent study believed that damage to the barrier allowed the body’s immune cells to attack brain cells after a TBI, causing further damage. To test their theory, they developed an experiment involving mice that were missing a crucial part of their immune system.
The test subjects were lacking the component CD74, which plays a vital part in the body’s immune response against disease. Scientists conducting the study also developed a treatment known as CAP to stop the cells from activating before they reached the brain.
The study used a total of 32 mice, and documented how a brain injury affected unaltered mice versus those without CD74. They found that mice with complete immune systems had larger lesions in the brain, suggesting that their immune response was at least part of the reason that brain cells broke down after trauma.
Subjects that received the CAP treatment had smaller lesions than those with untreated brain injuries, leading researchers to believe that blocking the body’s immune response helped reduce damage caused by brain trauma. They saw similar results in the mice without CD74.
How Can I Prevent Brain Damage After a TBI?
Currently, there is no proven method to prevent or reverse damage after a traumatic brain injury. However, researchers hope that learning more about brain injuries will lead to better treatment and medical advances for victims , helping them recover and lead more productive lives.
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