Cell Death Dis. 2023 Aug 3;14(8):496. doi: 10.1038/s41419-023-05980-0.
Traumatic Brain injury-induced disturbances in mitochondrial fission-and-fusion dynamics have been linked to the onset and propagation of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. However, cell-type-specific contributions and crosstalk between neurons, microglia, and astrocytes in mitochondria-driven neurodegeneration after brain injury remain undefined. We developed a human three-dimensional in vitro triculture tissue model of a contusion injury composed of neurons, microglia, and astrocytes and examined the contributions of mitochondrial dysregulation to neuroinflammation and progression of injury-induced neurodegeneration. Pharmacological studies presented here suggest that fragmented mitochondria released by microglia are a key contributor to secondary neuronal damage progression after contusion injury, a pathway that requires astrocyte-microglia crosstalk. Controlling mitochondrial dysfunction thus offers an exciting option for developing therapies for TBI patients.