Are Elevations in Tau Associated with Symptom Severity after Traumatic Brain Injury?

Research Paper Title

Elevated Tau in Military Personnel Relates to Chronic Symptoms Following Traumatic Brain Injury.

Background

To understand the relationships between traumatic brain injury (TBI), blood biomarkers, and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and postconcussive syndrome symptoms. This was a cross-sectional cohort study using multivariate analyses.

Methods

One hundred nine military personnel and veterans, both with and without a history of TBI. PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C); Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory (NSI); Ohio State University TBI Identification Method; Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9); Simoa-measured concentrations of tau, amyloid-beta (Aβ) 40, Aβ42, and neurofilament light (NFL).

Results

Controlling for age, sex, time since last injury (TSLI), and antianxiety/depression medication use, NFL was trending toward being significantly elevated in participants who had sustained 3 or more TBIs compared with those who had sustained 1 or 2 TBIs. Within the TBI group, partial correlations that controlled for age, sex, TSLI, and antianxiety/depression medication use showed that tau concentrations were significantly correlated with greater symptom severity, as measured with the NSI, PCL, and PHQ-9.

Conclusions

Elevations in tau are associated with symptom severity after TBI, while NFL levels are elevated in those with a history of repetitive TBIs and in military personnel and veterans. This study shows the utility of measuring biomarkers chronically post-injury. Furthermore, there is a critical need for studies of biomarkers longitudinally following TBI.

Reference

Pattinson, C.L., Shahim, P., Taylor, P., Dunbar, K., Guedes, V.A., Motamedi, V., Lai, C., Devoto, C., Peyer, J., Roy, M.J. & Gill, J.M. (2019) Elevated Tau in Military Personnel Relates to Chronic Symptoms Following Traumatic Brain Injury. The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000485. [Epub ahead of print].

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