Skip to Content

Nitric Oxide Synthase Pathways after mTBIs

The inflammatory response in concussions is not completely understood. Secondary concussions can occur as part of the inflammatory response which needs to be further researched. Different molecular pathways can be affected after a concussion. The purpose of this study is to be able to identify concussion associated blood biomarkers, specifically the role of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in concussions, as well as be able to identify the main polyamines involved with the inflammatory response in concussions. We hypothesized that eNOS will increase at 3 days post-concussion then decrease over time.

The first step of this project was the collection of blood samples from athletes. There were three samples taken from each athlete: a baseline blood draw, 72 hours after the concussion, 1 week, 1 month and finally 6 months post-concussion. The data processing used plasma from the athlete’s blood. Samples were processed using a previously reported protocol 6. In brief, the sample is filtered, and large molecules (proteins) eliminated. Next, these samples were prepared using a Nitric Oxide Synthase Eliza Kit and then put on a plate reader. The results showed that eNOS did increase at the 72-hour mark. At the 1 week and 1 month mark, the eNOS levels had slightly decreased but stayed elevated relative to baseline. At 6 months there was a decrease in eNOS below baseline levels. The impact of this project will help explain how cerebral blood flow is a part of secondary concussions and the role of eNOS in blood flow and concussions.