One of the earliest and most profound deficits that results from traumatic brain injury (TBI) comes from damage to the vascular networks that ultimately underlies much of the progressive pathophysiology associated with TBI. Unfortunately, little is known of the cellular signs and responses that regulate vessel integrity and/or remodeling in the injured brain. The objective of this study is to examine the role of ephrinB3 and EphB3 in vascular injury and regrowth following TBI. B-class ephrin and Eph receptors are both membrane bound proteins that initiate bidirectional signals during cell-cell interactions. In the developing nervous system, ephrinB2-EphB4 interactions have been shown to play essential roles in forming arterial-venous specifications to determine vessel identity;however, the role of other ephrins/Ephs is less clear. Our preliminary findings suggest that ephrinB3 and EphB3 may also play critical roles in angiogenesis in the cerebral cortex. We hypothesize that a subpopulation of endothelial cells (ECs) and pericytes express EphB3 and ephrinB3, respectively, and signal to restrict EC proliferation and vascular regrowth in the injured cortex. To test this hypothesis we will examine the spatiotemporal changes in ephrinB3/EphB3, effects of ephrinB3/EphB3 on vascular stability and regrowth using loss- and gain-of-function approaches, and influences of vascular growth on the survival of other residential cells in the TBI penumbra. We will also take advantage of flow cytometry, EC-specific inducible mice, light-sheet microscopy, newly developed 3-D quantification, as well as behavior analysis. These studies will provide a novel approach to examine the influence of vascular growth on injury progression in the brain.

Public Health Relevance

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major public health problem worldwide that affects millions of individuals of all ages and costs this country alone more than $56 billion a year. Despite the enormous financial investment TBI survivors are often left with serious cognitive, behavioral, and communicative disabilities, as well as long-term medical complications in some cases. This proposal will examine the role of TBI on vascular growth and remodeling by examining the mechanisms that regulate endothelial cell proliferation and survival. We will also examine whether alterations in vascular growth after TBI regulate the survival of residential neurons or oligodendrocytes using cutting edge light-sheet microscopy and 3-dimensional analysis.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Bellgowan, Patrick S F
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University of Miami School of Medicine
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Coral Gables
United States
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Assis-Nascimento, Poincyane; Tsenkina, Yanina; Liebl, Daniel J (2018) EphB3 signaling induces cortical endothelial cell death and disrupts the blood-brain barrier after traumatic brain injury. Cell Death Dis 9:7
Laussu, Julien; Audouard, Christophe; Kischel, Anthony et al. (2017) Eph/Ephrin Signaling Controls Progenitor Identities In The Ventral Spinal Cord. Neural Dev 12:10
Assis-Nascimento, Poincyane; Umland, Oliver; Cepero, Maria L et al. (2016) A flow cytometric approach to analyzing mature and progenitor endothelial cells following traumatic brain injury. J Neurosci Methods 263:57-67