Traumatic brain injury (TBI) represents one of the most common worldwide causes of death and disability. Clinical and animal model studies have evidenced that TBI is characterized by the loss of both gray and white matter, resulting in brain atrophy and in a decrease in neurological function. Nowadays, no effective treatments to counteract TBI-induced neurological damage are available. Due to its complex and multifactorial pathophysiology (neuro-inflammation, cytotoxicity and astroglial scar formation), cell regeneration and survival in injured brain areas are strongly hampered. Recently, it has been proposed that adult neurogenesis may represent a new approach to counteract the post-traumatic neurodegeneration. In our laboratory, we have recently shown that physical exercise induces the long-lasting enhancement of subventricular (SVZ) adult neurogenesis in a p21 (negative regulator of neural progenitor proliferation)-null mice model, with a concomitant improvement of olfactory behavioral paradigms that are strictly dependent on SVZ neurogenesis. On the basis of this evidence, we have investigated the effect of running on SVZ neurogenesis and neurorepair processes in p21 knock-out mice that were subject to TBI at the end of a 12-day session of running. Our data indicate that runner p21 ko mice show an improvement in numerous post-trauma neuro-regenerative processes, including the following: (i) an increase in neuroblasts in the SVZ; (ii) an increase in the migration stream of new neurons from the SVZ to the damaged cortical region; (iii) an enhancement of new differentiating neurons in the peri-lesioned area; (iv) an improvement in functional recovery at various times following TBI. All together, these results suggest that a running-dependent increase in subventricular neural stem cells could represent a promising tool to improve the endogenous neuro-regenerative responses following brain trauma.
Role of Running-Activated Neural Stem Cells in the Anatomical and Functional Recovery after Traumatic Brain Injury in p21 Knock-Out Mice / Battistini, Jonathan Isacco; Mastrorilli, Valentina; Nicolis di Robilant, Vittoria; Saraulli, Daniele; Marinelli, Sara; Farioli Vecchioli, Stefano. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR SCIENCES. - ISSN 1661-6596. - 24:3(2023), p. 2911. [10.3390/ijms24032911]