Stephanie Adamczak, Gordon Dale, Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari, M. Ross Bullock, W. Dalton Dietrich and Robert W. Keane
Traumatic brain injury (TBI), the third most common CNS pathology, plagues 5.3 million Americans with permanent TBI-related disabilities. To evaluate injury severity and prognosis, physicians rely on clinical variables. Here, the authors seek objective, biochemical markers reflecting molecular injury mechanisms specific to the CNS as more accurate measurements of injury severity and outcome. One such secondary injury mechanism, the innate immune response, is regulated by the inflammasome, a molecular platform that activates caspase-1 and interleukin-1β.
The authors investigated whether inflammasome components were present in the CSF of 23 patients with TBI and whether levels of inflammasome components correlate with outcome. The authors performed an immunoblot analysis of CSF samples from patients who suffered TBI and nontrauma controls and assessed the outcomes 5 months postinjury by using the Glasgow Outcome Scale. Data were analyzed using Mann-Whitney U-tests and linear regression analysis.
Patients with severe or moderate cranial trauma exhibited significantly higher CSF levels of the inflammasome proteins ASC, caspase-1, and NALP-1 than nontrauma controls (p < 0.0001, p = 0.0029, and p = 0.0202, respectively). Expression of each protein correlated significantly with the Glasgow Outcome Scale score at 5 months postinjury (p < 0.05). ASC, caspase-1, and NALP-1 were significantly higher in the CSF of patients with unfavorable outcomes, including death and severe disability (p < 0.0001).
NALP-1 inflammasome proteins are potential biomarkers to assess TBI severity, outcome, and the secondary injury mechanisms impeding recovery, serving as adjuncts to clinical predictors.
Jon Pérez-Bárcena, Catalina Crespí, Guillem Frontera, Juan Antonio Llompart-Pou, Osman Salazar, Victor Goliney, Javier Ibáñez, M. Ross Bullock and Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari
The objectives of this study were to evaluate levels of inflammasome-signaling proteins in serum and CSF of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), and to correlate these protein levels with intracranial pressure (ICP) and clinical outcomes at 6 months after injury.
This is a prospective and observational study in patients with moderate and severe TBI who required an external ventricular drain as part of their treatment. Serum and CSF samples were collected 3 times a day for the first 5 days after TBI. The authors have determined the protein concentration of caspase-1 in the CSF and serum of patients with TBI by using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The ICP value was recorded hourly. The 6-month outcome was assessed using the Glasgow Outcome Scale–Extended.
A total of 21 patients were included in this study, and a total of 234 paired serum-CSF samples were analyzed. The area under the curve (AUC) value of caspase-1 in CSF during the 5-day period was 2452.9 pg/mL·hr in the group of patients with high ICP vs 617.6 pg/mL·hr in the patients with low ICP. The differences were mainly on day 2 (19.7 pg/mL vs 1.8 pg/mL; p = 0.06) and day 3 (13.9 pg/mL vs 1 pg/mL; p = 0.05). The AUC value of caspase in CSF during the 5-day period was 1918.9 pg/mL·hr in the group of patients with poor outcome versus 924.5 pg/mL·hr in the patients with good outcome. The protein levels of caspase-1 in CSF were higher in patients with unfavorable outcomes during the first 96 hours after TBI.
In this cohort of patients with TBI who were admitted to the neurosurgical ICU, the inflammasome protein caspase-1 is increased in the CSF of patients with high ICP, especially on days 2 and 3 after TBI. Also the protein levels of caspase-1 in CSF were higher in patients with poor outcome during the first 96 hours after TBI. Moreover, not only the absolute value of caspase-1 in CSF but also its trend is associated with poor outcomes.