Bielefeld, P. et al. (2023) “Traumatic brain injury modifies adult hippocampal neural stem cell fate to promote neurogenesis at the cost of astrogliogenesis,” bioRxiv [Preprint].
Moderate Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in long-lasting changes in brain function. Although frequently spared from the acute primary injury, the hippocampus becomes affected during a secondary phase that takes place hours, or even days, after TBI, contributing to cognitive deficits. The hippocampus is one of the few brain areas in the adult brain harboring native neural stem cells (NSCs) that continue to generate new neurons (neurogenesis), and to a lesser extent new astrocytes (astrogliogenesis). While deregulation of hippocampal NSCs and neurogenesis have been observed after TBI, very little is known about how TBI may affect hippocampal astrogliogenesis.
Here, we aimed to assess how TBI affects hippocampal NSCs and their subsequent commitment to the neuronal or astroglial lineages. Using a controlled cortical impact model of TBI, single cell RNA sequencing and spatial transcriptomics, we observed a cell population-specific increase in NSC-derived neuronal cells and a decrease in NSC-derived astrocytic cells. These cellular changes were associated with cell-population specific changes in gene expression and dysplasia within the dentate gyrus.
Overall, our findings support the conclusion that TBI modifies adult hippocampal NSC fate to promote neurogenesis at the cost of astrogliogenesis, and highlights specific cell populations as possible targets to counteract the changes induced by TBI in the hippocampus.