J Mol Neurosci. 2023 Oct 6. doi: 10.1007/s12031-023-02162-7. Online ahead of print.
Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and repetitive mTBI (RmTBI) are silent epidemics, and so far, there is no objective diagnosis. The severity of the injury is solely based on the Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) scale. Most patients suffer from one or more behavioral abnormalities, such as headache, amnesia, cognitive decline, disturbed sleep pattern, anxiety, depression, and vision abnormalities. Additionally, most neuroimaging modalities are insensitive to capture structural and functional alterations in the brain, leading to inefficient patient management. Metabolomics is one of the established omics technologies to identify metabolic alterations, mostly in biofluids. NMR-based metabolomics provides quantitative metabolic information with non-destructive and minimal sample preparation. We employed whole-blood NMR analysis to identify metabolic markers using a high-field NMR spectrometer (800 MHz). Our approach involves chemical-free sample pretreatment and minimal sample preparation to obtain a robust whole-blood metabolic profile from a rat model of concussion. A single head injury was given to the mTBI group, and three head injuries to the RmTBI group. We found significant alterations in blood metabolites in both mTBI and RmTBI groups compared with the control, such as alanine, branched amino acid (BAA), adenosine diphosphate/adenosine try phosphate (ADP/ATP), creatine, glucose, pyruvate, and glycerphosphocholine (GPC). Choline was significantly altered only in the mTBI group and formate in the RmTBI group compared with the control. These metabolites corroborate previous findings in clinical and preclinical cohorts. Comprehensive whole-blood metabolomics can provide a robust metabolic marker for more accurate diagnosis and treatment intervention for a disease population.