Dr. Naoki Tajiri, Assistant Professor in the School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences and the Department of Neurosurgery & Brain Repair, has been awarded a $25,000 grant by the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute for research on “Stem cell-paved biobridges in TBI with AD-like pathology.” The award is being funded by the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute’s small grant program.
Dr Tajiri has recently gathered data that recognizes patients, undiagnosed but likely suffering from moderate TBI, to display Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-like cognitive impairments, suggesting a pathological overlap between TBI and AD. Results revealed that presymptomatic APP/PS1 AD-transgenic mice with experimental TBI exhibited significantly more errors in a cognitive task, coupled with significantly increased extracellular beta-amyloid (Aβ)-deposits in the cortex and hippocampus, compared to AD mice without TBI and wild type (WT) mice with TBI or sham surgery (Tajiri N et al., PLoS One. 8, e78851, 2013). These results demonstrate for the first time that TBI precipitates cognitive impairment in presymptomatic AD mice, while also confirming extracellular Aβ deposits following TBI. Interestingly, recent studies have implicated a key interaction between matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and Aβ-deposits in diseased brains, advancing the notion that dissecting this pathological link between TBI and AD should aid in understanding the disease pathology and developing novel treatments, i.e., stem cell-paved biobridges.