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Cerebral hypoperfusion exacerbates vascular dysfunction after traumatic brain injury
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  • Bailey Whitehead,
  • Deborah Corbin,
  • Ethan Meadows,
  • Ning Zhang,
  • John Hollander,
  • Kate Weil,
  • Zachary Weil
Bailey Whitehead
West Virginia University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Deborah Corbin
West Virginia University
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Ethan Meadows
West Virginia University
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Ning Zhang
West Virginia University
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John Hollander
West Virginia University
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Kate Weil
West Virginia University
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Zachary Weil
West Virginia University
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Abstract

Traumatic brain injuries are extremely common, and although most patients recover from their injuries many TBI patients suffer prolonged symptoms and remain at a higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease and neurodegeneration. Moreover, it remains challenging to identify predictors of poor long-term outcomes. Here, we tested the hypothesis that preexisting cerebrovascular impairment exacerbates metabolic and vascular dysfunction and leads to worse outcomes after TBI. Male mice underwent a mild surgical reduction in cerebral blood flow using a model of bilateral carotid artery stenosis (BCAS) wherein steel microcoils were implanted around the carotid arteries. Then mice underwent a mild-moderate TBI, or a combination of BCAS followed by TBI 30 days post coil implantation. Gene expression profiles, cerebral blood flow, metabolic function, oxidative damage, vascular health and angiogenesis were assessed. Single nuclei RNA sequencing of endothelial cells isolated from mice after TBI showed differential gene expression profiles after TBI and BCAS, that were further altered when mice underwent both challenges. TBI but not BCAS increased mitochondrial oxidative metabolism. Both BCAS and TBI decreased cerebrovascular responses to repeated whisker stimulation. BCAS induced oxidative damage and inflammation in the vasculature as well as loss of vascular density, and reduced the numbers of angiogenic tip cells. Finally, intravascular protein accumulation was increased among mice that experienced both BCAS and TBI. Overall, our findings reveal that a prior vascular impairment significantly alters the profile of vascular health and function of the cerebrovasculature, and when combined with TBI may result in worsened outcomes.