A mouse Model of Focal Vascular Injury Induces Astrocyte Reactivity, Tau Oligomers, and Aberrant Behavior

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Neuropsychiatric symptom development has become more prevalent with 270,000 blast exposures occurring in the past 10 years in the United States. How blast injury leads to neuropsychiatric symptomology is currently unknown. Preclinical models of blast-induced traumatic brain injury have been used to demonstrate blood-brain barrier disruption, degenerative pathophysiology, and behavioral deficits. Vascular injury is a primary effect of neurotrauma that can trigger secondary injury cascades and neurodegeneration. Here we present data from a novel scaled and clinically relevant mouse blast model that was specifically developed to assess the outcome of vascular injury. We look at the biochemical effects and behavioral changes associated with blast injury in young-adult male BALB/c mice. We report that blast exposure causes focal vascular injury in the Somatosensory Barrel Field cortex, which leads to perivascular astrocyte reactivity, as well as acute aberrant behavior. Biochemical analysis revealed that mild blast exposure also invokes tauopathy, neuroinflammation, and oxidative stress. Overall, we propose our model to be used to evaluate focal blood-brain barrier disruption and to discover novel therapies for human neuropsychiatric symptoms.