Every cell has a story to tell in brain injury

Traumatic head injury can have widespread effects in the brain, but now scientists can look in real time at how head injury affects thousands of individual cells and genes simultaneously in mice. This approach could lead to precise treatments for traumatic brain injury (TBI). The study, reported in Nature Communications, was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

“Instead of clustering responses according to categories of cells in TBI, we can now see how individual cells in those groups react to head injury,” said Patrick Bellgowan, Ph.D., program director at NINDS.

University of California, Los Angeles professors Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, Ph.D. and Xia Yang, Ph.D., along with their colleagues, used a novel method known as Drop-seq to closely look at individual brain cells in the hippocampus, a region involved in learning and memory, after TBI or in uninjured control animals. Drop-seq allows thousands of cells and genes to be analyzed simultaneously.

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