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Seizures are a druggable mechanistic link between TBI and subsequent tauopathy

By Hadeel Alyenbaawi, Richard Kanyo, Laszlo F Locskai, Razieh Kamali-Jamil, Michèle G. DuVal, Qing Bai, Holger Wille, Edward A. Burton, W. Ted Allison

Posted 14 May 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.12.091819 (published DOI: 10.7554/eLife.58744)

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a prominent risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases and dementias including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). TBI and CTE, like all tauopathies, are characterized by accumulation of Tau into aggregates that progressively spread to other brain regions in a prion-like manner. The mechanisms that promote spreading and cellular uptake of tau seeds after TBI are not fully understood, in part due to lack of tractable animal models. Here, we test the putative roles for excess neuronal activity and dynamin-dependent endocytosis in promoting the in vivo spread of tauopathy. We introduce 'tauopathy reporter' zebrafish expressing a genetically-encoded fluorescent Tau biosensor that reliably reports accumulation of human tau species when seeded via intra-ventricular brain injections. Subjecting zebrafish larvae to a novel TBI paradigm produced various TBI symptoms including cell death, hemorrhage, blood flow abnormalities, post-traumatic seizures, and Tau inclusions. Bath application of anticonvulsant drugs rescued TBI-induced tauopathy and cell death; these benefits were attributable to inhibition of post-traumatic seizures because co-application of convulsants reversed these beneficial effects. However, one convulsant drug, 4-Aminopyridine, unexpectedly abrogated TBI-induced tauopathy - this was due to its inhibitory action on endocytosis as confirmed via additional dynamin inhibitors. These data suggest a role for seizure activity and dynamin-dependent endocytosis in the prion-like seeding and spreading of tauopathy following TBI. Further work is warranted regarding anti-convulsants that dampen post-traumatic seizures as a route to moderating subsequent tauopathy. Moreover, the data highlight the utility of deploying in vivo Tau biosensor and TBI methods in larval zebrafish, especially regarding drug screening and intervention. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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