Julia Malewicz

Use of Photobiomodulation to Mitigate Oxidative Stress, Neuroinflammation, and Behavioral Deficits after Traumatic Brain Injury

Author: Julia Malewicz (neuroscience) 

Faculty mentor: Alana Conti

Abstract

Of the nearly three million people annually affected by traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), more than 50% experience persistent pain following injury and are more likely to receive opioids for pain management. The underlying mechanisms for this pain remain unclear. Research has shown that TBI acutely increases reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation leading to long-term increases in neuroinflammation, which triggers a downstream cascade that results in behavioral and functional deficits, including pain. Because TBI patients experience pain, they are 5x more likely to be prescribed opioids. Opioids increase the risk of overdose, suicide, and have a potential addictive affect. An alternative to opioids is the non-toxic and non-invasive treatment, photobiomodulation (PBM), which is known to impact oxidative stress and inflammatory cascades. The purpose of the current study is to examine the use of PBM to mitigate oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and behavioral deficits following TBI in a mouse model. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) will be used to measure the protein levels of IL-1, a pro-inflammatory cytokine. Preliminary research has shown positive results in the cortex region of the brain, with reduced ROS and IL-1 levels following PBM treatment in TBI mice. The goal of this project is to examine known pain regions in the brain, and see if TBI increases neuroinflammatory markers and if PBM is a viable alternative to opioids to reduce this, in the treatment and management of pain.

Poster pitch

Poster

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Julia Malewicz: Use of Photobiomodulation to Mitigate Oxidative Stress, Neuroinflammation, and Behavioral Deficits after Traumatic Brain Injury

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