Hypoaminoacidemia Characterizes Chronic Traumatic Brain Injury

William J. Durham, Jack P. Foreman, Kathleen M. Randolph, Christopher P. Danesi, Heidi Spratt, Brian D. Masel, Jennifer R. Summons, Charan K. Singh, Melissa Morrison, Claudia Robles, Cindy Wolfram, Lisa A. Kreber, Randall J. Urban, Melinda Sheffield-Moore, Brent E. Masel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Individuals with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) are at increased risk for a number of disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. However, mediators of the long-term morbidity are uncertain. We conducted a multi-site, prospective trial in chronic TBI patients (∼18 years post-TBI) living in long-term 24-h care environments and local controls without a history of head injury. Inability to give informed consent was exclusionary for participation. A total of 41 individuals (17 moderate-severe TBI, 24 controls) were studied before and after consumption of a standardized breakfast to determine if concentrations of amino acids, cytokines, C-reactive protein, and insulin are potential mediators of long-term TBI morbidity. Analyte concentrations were measured in serum drawn before (fasting) and 1 h after meal consumption. Mean ages were 44 ± 15 and 49 ± 11 years for controls and chronic TBI patients, respectively. Chronic TBI patients had significantly lower circulating concentrations of numerous individual amino acids, as well as essential amino acids (p = 0.03) and large neutral amino acids (p = 0.003) considered as groups, and displayed fundamentally altered cytokine-amino acid relationships. Many years after injury, TBI patients exhibit abnormal metabolic responses and altered relationships between circulating amino acids, cytokines, and hormones. This pattern is consistent with TBI, inducing a chronic disease state in patients. Understanding the mechanisms causing the chronic disease state could lead to new treatments for its prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-390
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2017


  • head trauma
  • metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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