J Neurotrauma. 2023 Aug 31. doi: 10.1089/neu.2022.0469. Online ahead of print.
The axon initial segment (AIS) is a critical locus of control of action potential (AP) generation and neuronal information synthesis. Concussive traumatic brain injury gives rise to diffuse axotomy, and the majority of neocortical axonal injury arises at the AIS. Consequently, concussive traumatic brain injury might profoundly disrupt the functional specialization of this region. To investigate this hypothesis, one and two days after mild central fluid percussion injury in Thy1-YFP-H mice, we recorded high-resolution APs from axotomized and adjacent intact layer 5 pyramidal neurons and applied a second derivative (2o) analysis to measure the AIS- and soma-regional contributions to the AP upstroke. All layer 5 pyramidal neurons recorded from sham animals manifested two stark 2o peaks separated by a negative intervening slope. In contrast, within injured mice, we discovered a subset of axotomized layer 5 pyramidal neurons in which the AIS-regional 2o peak was abolished, a functional perturbation associated with diminished excitability, axonal sprouting and distention of the AIS as assessed by staining for ankyrin-G. Our analysis revealed an additional subpopulation of both axotomized and intact layer 5 pyramidal neurons that manifested a melding together of the AIS- and soma-regional 2o peaks, suggesting a more subtle aberration of sodium channel function and/or translocation of the AIS initiation zone closer to the soma. When these experiments were repeated in animals in which cyclophilin-D was knocked out, these effects were ameliorated, suggesting that trauma-induced AIS functional perturbation is associated with mitochondrial calcium dysregulation.