Altered Blood Biomarker Profiles in Athletes with a History of Repetitive Head Impacts


The long-term health effects of concussion and sub-concussive impacts in sport are unknown. Growing evidence suggests both inflammation and neurodegeneration are pivotal to secondary injury processes and the etiology of neurodegenerative diseases. In the present study we characterized circulating brain injury and inflammatory mediators in healthy male and female athletes according to concussion history and collision sport participation. Eighty-seven university level athletes (male, n = 60; female, n = 27) were recruited before the start of the competitive season. Athletes were healthy at the time of the study (no medications, illness, concussion or musculoskeletal injuries). Dependent variables included 29 inflammatory and 10 neurological injury analytes assessed in the peripheral blood by immunoassay. Biomarkers were statistically evaluated using partial least squares multivariate analysis to identify possible relationships to self-reported previous concussion history, number of previous concussions and collision sport participation in male and female athletes. Multiple concussions were associated with increases in peripheral MCP-1 in females, and MCP-4 in males. Collision sport participation was associated with increases in tau levels in males. These results are consistent with previous experimental and clinical findings that suggest ongoing inflammatory and cerebral injury processes after repetitive mild head trauma. However, further validation is needed to correlate systemic biomarkers to repetitive brain impacts, as opposed to the extracranial effects common to an athletic population such as exercise and muscle damage. 


Autor / Fonte:Alex P Di Battista, Shawn G Rhind, Doug Richards, Nathan Churchill, Andrew J Baker, Michael G Hutchison PloS One 2016, 11 (7): e0159929