Res Sq. 2023 Aug 14:rs.3.rs-3166656. doi: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-3166656/v1. Preprint.
Career athletes, active military, and head trauma victims are at increased risk for mild repetitive traumatic brain injury (rTBI), a condition that contributes to the development of epilepsy and neurodegenerative diseases. Standard clinical imaging fails to identify rTBI-induced lesions, and novel non-invasive methods are needed. Here, we evaluated if hyperpolarized 13 C magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (HP 13 C MRSI) could detect long-lasting changes in brain metabolism 3.5 months post-injury in a rTBI mouse model. Our results show that this metabolic imaging approach can detect changes in cortical metabolism at that timepoint, whereas multimodal MR imaging did not detect any structural or contrast alterations. Using Machine Learning, we further show that HP 13 C MRSI parameters can help classify rTBI vs. Sham and predict long-term rTBI-induced behavioral outcomes. Altogether, our study demonstrates the potential of metabolic imaging to improve detection, classification and outcome prediction of previously undetected rTBI.