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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health concern which strikes someone every 15 s on average in the US. Even mild TBI, which comprise as many as 75% of all TBI cases, carries long term consequences. The effects of age and sex on long term outcome from TBI is not fully understood, but due to the increased risk for neurodegenerative diseases after TBI it is important to understand how these factors influence the outcome from TBI. This study examined the neurobehavioral and neuropathological effects of age and sex on the outcome 15 days following repetitive mild traumatic brain injury (r-mTBI) in mice transgenic for human tau (hTau). These mice express the six human isoforms of tau but do not express endogenous murine tau and they develop tau pathology and memory impairment in an age-dependent manner. After 5 mild impacts, aged female mice showed motor impairments that were absent in aged male mice, as well as younger animals. Conversely, aged female sham mice outperformed all other groups of aged mice in a Barnes maze spatial memory test. Pathologically, increases in IBA-1 and GFAP staining typically seen in this model of r-mTBI showed the expected increases with both injury and age, but phosphorylated tau stained with CP13 in the hippocampus (reduced in female sham mice compared to males) and PHF1 in the cortex (reduced in female TBI mice compared to male TBI mice) showed the only histological signs of sex-dependent differences in these mice.

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Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience





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