Insight into why systemic infection impedes brain injury recovery
The road to recovery can be even harder than an injury’s immediate impact. This is particularly true in the brain where injury can cause long-term disability. Recovery is often much worse in patients who contract infections, but the reasons for this are unclear. A new study examining immune activity in mice with mild traumatic brain injury found that immune cells essential to repair are diverted away during infection. This reprioritisation delays repair to blood vessels in the brain (pictured, seven days after injury with functional blood vessels labelled yellow, and those still damaged in red). Full belated recovery may be possible from mild injury and a single infection, but after severe injury like stroke the speed of repair is essential to preserving brain function. The study, which identified the key signalling proteins involved in redirecting the immune system, emphasises that infection control is central to a full and fast recovery.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.