Age modulates the injury-induced metallomic profile in the brain†
The biological transition metals iron (Fe), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) are thought to contribute to the neuronal pathologies that occur following traumatic brain injury (TBI), and indeed our previously published work in young (3 month-old) mice clearly demonstrates a significant spatiotemporal modulation of metals following TBI. Of note, however, is the literature observation that there is both an apparent detrimental effect of aging on TBI outcomes and an alteration in metals and their various transporters with normal advancing age. Therefore, to determine whether there was an interaction between aging, metals and TBI, we have utilised laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry to examine the spatial and temporal distribution of Fe, Zn and Cu following an acute controlled cortical impact brain injury in aged (24 months) rodents. The relative abundance of metals in corresponding regions within the ipsilateral and contralateral hemispheres as well as the hippocampus was assessed. Substantial region and time point specific alterations in Fe, Zn and Cu were identified immediately and up to 28 days post-TBI. The data from this follow-up study has also been compared to our previous data from young animals, and aged mice exhibit an appreciably enhanced and persistent elevation of all metals in every region surveyed, with individual metal disparities at various time points observed post-injury. This may potentially contribute to the acceleration in the onset of cognitive decline and neurological disease that has been observed in the aged population following head trauma.