Brain edema and the associated increase in intracranial pressure are major consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that accounts for most early deaths after TBI. We recently showed that acute severe trauma to cultured astrocytes results in cell swelling. We further examined whether trauma induces cell swelling in neurons and microglia. We found that severe trauma also caused cell swelling in cultured neurons, whereas no swelling was observed in microglia. While severe trauma caused cell swelling in both astrocytes and neurons, mild trauma to astrocytes, neurons, and microglia failed to cell swelling. Since extracellular levels of glutamate are increased in brain post-TBI and microglia are known to release cytokine, and direct exposure of astrocytes to these molecules are known to stimulate cell swelling, we examined whether glutamate or cytokines have any additive effect on trauma-induced cell swelling. Exposure of cultured astrocytes to trauma caused cell swelling, and such swelling was potentiated by the exposure of traumatized astrocytes to glutamate and cytokines. Conditioned medium (CM) from traumatized astrocytes had no effect on neuronal swelling post-trauma, while CM from traumatized neurons and microglia potentiated the effect of trauma on astrocyte swelling. Further, trauma significantly increased the Na–K–Cl co-transporter (NKCC) activity in neurons, and that inhibition of NKCC activity diminished the trauma-induced neuronal swelling. Our results indicate that a differential sensitivity to trauma-induced cell swelling exists in neural cells and that neurons and microglia are likely to be involved in the potentiation of the astrocyte swelling post-trauma.
- Cell swelling
- Traumatic brain injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience