UCLA researchers are the first to link head injuries to genetic disruption, neurological diseases

March 6, 2017
Examples of gene networks in the hippocampus affected by brain trauma. UCLA researchers report that the “master regulator” genes (in red) influence many other genes responsible for the effects of brain trauma.
Qingying Meng/UCLA

UCLA researchers are the first to identify master genes that may control hundreds of genes linked to diseases such as depression, Alzheimer’s and many more. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) seems to damage these master genes, which then alters gene expression and/or protein production of genes linked to the master gene. Using an animal model, researchers simulated TBI among a cohort of rats and drew RNA from the rats. Among rats with simulatedTBI, 268 genes in the hippocampus were altered along with 1,215 genes in leukocytes, a type of white blood cells. Of these genes, researchers pinpointed nearly two dozen altered genes present in both the hippocampus and the blood. Researchers also found that several genes had human analogs. These findings could contribute to future pharmaceutical treatments and gene-based blood tests for TBI.

Source: Head injuries can alter hundreds of genes and lead to serious brain diseases, UCLA biologists report 06 Mar 2017, UCLA Newsroom

Additional coverage on these findings:

Study finds head injuries can alter genes in brain 06 Mar 2017, United Press International