A Role for Focal Adhesions and Extracellular Matrix in Traumatic Axonal Injury
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CitationHemphill, Matthew Allen. 2014. A Role for Focal Adhesions and Extracellular Matrix in Traumatic Axonal Injury. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is linked to a diverse range of diffuse pathological damage for which there is a severe lack of therapeutic options. A major limitation to drug development is the inability to identify causal mechanisms that link head trauma to the multitude of secondary injury cascades that underlie neuropathology. To elucidate these relationships, it is important to consider how physical forces are transmitted through the brain across multiple spatial scales ranging from the whole head to the sub-cellular level. In doing so, the mechanical behavior of the brain is typically characterized solely by its material properties and biological structure. Alternatively, forces transmitted through distinct cellular and extracellular structures have been shown to influence physiological processes in multiple cell types through the transduction of mechanical forces into cellular chemical responses. As an essential component of various biological processes, these mechanotransduction events are regulated by mechanical cues directed through extracellular matrix (ECM) and cell adhesion molecules (CAM) to mechanosensitive intra-cellular structures such as focal adhesions (FAs). Using a series of in vitro models, we have implicated FAs in the cellular mechanism of traumatic axonal injury by showing that forces directed through these structures potentiate injury levels and, moreover, that inhibition of FA-mediated signaling pathways may be neuroprotective. In addition, we show that localizing trauma forces through specific brain ECM results in differential injury rates, further implicating mechanosensitive cell-ECM linkages in the mechanism of TBI. Therefore, we show that FAs play a major role in axonal injury at low strain magnitudes indicating that cellular mechanotransduction may be an important mechanism underlying the initiation of cell and sub-cellular injuries ultimately responsible for the diffuse pathological damage and clinical symptoms observed in diffuse axonal injury. Furthermore, since these mechanisms may present the earliest events in the complex sequelae associated with TBI, they also represent potential therapeutic opportunities.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:13070036
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