Traumatic Synaptic Injury and its Impact on AD

2017 Seed Grant
Terrance Kummer, M.D., Ph.D.
Washington University in Saint Louis

Traumatic brain injury is the leading global cause of death and disability for adolescents and younger adults, and also the best-established acquired risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurological disability in both conditions results from the breakdown of circuits in the brain. Although injury to synapses, the points where neurons communicate with each other, is central to Alzheimer’s disease, the loci of traumatic circuit injury are less well-known. This study asks whether injury to synapses is an important part of circuit breakdown in traumatic brain injury, and whether such injury might predispose the brain to further, Alzheimer’s-induced loss of synapses. If this study is successful, it will shed light on the connections between traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease, thereby pointing the way to future treatments.