Scientific reports

Hepatic alterations are accompanied by changes to bile acid transporter-expressing neurons in the hypothalamus after traumatic brain injury.

PMID 28106051


Annually, there are over 2 million incidents of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and treatment options are non-existent. While many TBI studies have focused on the brain, peripheral contributions involving the digestive and immune systems are emerging as factors involved in the various symptomology associated with TBI. We hypothesized that TBI would alter hepatic function, including bile acid system machinery in the liver and brain. The results show activation of the hepatic acute phase response by 2 hours after TBI, hepatic inflammation by 6 hours after TBI and a decrease in hepatic transcription factors, Gli 1, Gli 2, Gli 3 at 2 and 24 hrs after TBI. Bile acid receptors and transporters were decreased as early as 2 hrs after TBI until at least 24 hrs after TBI. Quantification of bile acid transporter, ASBT-expressing neurons in the hypothalamus, revealed a significant decrease following TBI. These results are the first to show such changes following a TBI, and are compatible with previous studies of the bile acid system in stroke models. The data support the emerging idea of a systemic influence to neurological disorders and point to the need for future studies to better define specific mechanisms of action.