Long-Studied Protein Could Be a Measure of Traumatic Brain Injury (EurekAlert)

Long-Studied Protein Could Be a Measure of Traumatic Brain Injury

Scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research (WRAIR) have recently demonstrated that cathepsin B, a well-studied protein important to brain development and function, can be used as a biomarker, or indicator of severity, for traumatic brain injury. Dr. Kevin K. W. Wang, director for Neurotrauma, Neuroproteomics & Biomarkers Research at the University of Florida, is part of the team.

In their publication in the Journal of Neurotrauma, the researchers showed that levels of cathepsin B were increased in areas of the injured brain relevant to controlling the senses, language, memory and other critical executive functions. In healthy cells, cathepsin B has a range of roles, including helping to eliminate damaged cells, maintaining metabolic homeostasis, and degrading improperly produced proteins. When the level of cathepsin B is not tightly controlled, it is linked to inflammation and tissue death. This publication reports the first results demonstrating the ability to use cathepsin B as a blood-based biomarker to capable of identifying TBI severity within different brain regions as well as cerebral spinal fluid.

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