Increased hippocampal uptake of tumor necrosis factor α and behavioral changes in mice

Weihong Pan, Abba J. Kastin, Tova Rigai, Robert McLay, Chaim G. Pick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brain trauma may alter the function of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and affect psychomotor activity. We have shown that the transport system for tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) at the BBB undergoes regulatory changes after spinal cord injury. In this study, we show in CD1 mice that mild trauma by weight-drop to the right temporal region specifically increases the uptake of blood-borne TNFα. This increase, measured by use of radiolabeled murine TNFα, occurred only in the right hippocampus 24 h after injury and returned to normal at 1 week. There was no increase in the uptake of the vascular marker albumin at 1 h, 24 h, or 1 week postinjury, indicating that the BBB remained relatively intact. Human interleukin-1β, which does not cross the BBB by saturable transport, showed no significant changes in brain uptake after trauma. Therefore, the selective entry of TNFα in the injured right hippocampus may be explained by enhanced transport across the BBB. To explore the functional relevance of this transport regulation, we measured mouse behavior by the staircase test. The number of rearings, mainly reflective of exploratory behavior, decreased at 1 h and 1 day after injury but increased at 1 week after a 30-g weight-drop injury. The number of stairs ascended, mainly indicative of locomotor activity, was unchanged at all times tested. We conclude that mild, blunt brain trauma involving the hippocampus causes specific upregulation of TNFα transport and a selective change in exploratory behavior. Although no causal relationship can be established at this time, the behavioral changes might be related to the increased TNFα transport after trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-199
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003


  • Behavior
  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Hippocampus
  • IL1β
  • Staircase test
  • TNFα
  • Transport
  • Traumatic brain injury


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