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MicroRNAs: The New Challenge for Traumatic Brain Injury Diagnosis

Author(s):

Pinchi Enrica*, Luigi Cipolloni, Paola Santoro, Gianpietro Volonnino, Raoul Tomassi, Mauro Arcangeli and Paola Frati   Pages 1 - 13 ( 13 )

Abstract:


The acronym TBI refers to traumatic brain injury, an alteration of brain function, or an evidence of brain pathology, that is caused by an external force. TBI is estimated to become the third leading cause of permanent disability and mortality worldwide. TBI-related injuries can be classified in many ways, according to the degree of severity or to the pathophysiology of brain injury (primary and secondary damage). Numerous cellular pathways act in secondary brain damage: excitotoxicity (mediated by excitatory neurotransmitters); free radical generation (due to mitochondrial impairment); neuroinflammatory response (due to central nervous system and immunoactivation); apoptosis. In this scenario, microRNAs are implicated in the regulation of almost all genes at the post-transcriptional level. Several microRNAs have been demonstrated to be specifically expressed in particular cerebral areas; moreover, physiological changes in microRNA expression during normal cerebral development upon the establishment of neural networks have been characterized. More importantly, microRNAs show profound alteration in expression in response to brain pathological states, both traumatic or not. This review summarizes the most important molecular networks involved in TBI and examines the most recent and important findings on TBI-related microRNAs, both in animal and clinical studies. The importance of microRNA research holds promise to find biomarkers able to unearth primary and secondary molecular patterns altered upon TBI, to ultimately identify key points of regulation, as valuable support in forensic pathology and potential therapeutic targets for clinical treatment.

Keywords:

Traumatic brain injury, molecular pathways, microRNAs, animal models, clinical studies, forensic pathology, therapeutic biomarkers

Affiliation:

Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic and Orthopaedic Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Forensic Pathology Institute, University of Foggia, 71122 Foggia, Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic and Orthopaedic Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic and Orthopaedic Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic and Orthopaedic Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic and Orthopaedic Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome



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