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Kim Haight

Kim Haight

2017 AVMA/AVMF 2nd Opportunity Research Scholarship Recipient
The University of Georgia
College of Veterinary Medicine
Class of 2019

Research Interests

Effect of acute iNSC transplantation on BBB leakage in a novel porcine controlled cortical impact TBI model

Kimberly D. Haight, Madelaine N. Wendzik, Elizabeth S. Waters, Monika Saini, Franklin D. West

Regenerative Bioscience Center, Department of Animal and Dairy Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of disability and death in the United States, with an estimated 5.3 million Americans living with long-term disability from TBI. TBIs are a contributing factor in ~30% of all injury related deaths, and the CDC estimates that 153 people die each day from TBI-related injuries. TBI pathophysiology is complex, including the breakdown of the blood brain barrier (BBB) and secondary inflammatory insults. When the BBB is damaged, it becomes more permeable due to a decrease in tight junction proteins and the death of endothelial cells. This makes the BBB susceptible to infiltration of inflammatory cells that can cause even more long-term damage. It’s been demonstrated by our lab previously that human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neural stem cells (iNSCs) may improve this damage long-term by producing neuroprotective and regenerative signaling factors. The aim of this study was to characterize BBB breach after TBI, survival of iNSCs post-transplant, and the effect of iNSCs on BBB breach and the inflammatory response in a novel porcine controlled cortical impact TBI model. We hypothesized that acutely transplanted iNSCs will lessen the damage caused by a TBI by decreasing BBB leakage and the release of inflammatory cytokines. BBB leakage was confirmed with Evans Blue Dye. The survival of iNSCs was confirmed by gross histological assessment of DiR-cell labeling, demonstrating robust cell numbers. Collectively, the results demonstrate that TBI leads to significant BBB breach, and iNSCs can survive in a cytotoxic environment. Ongoing assessments will determine if the transplanted iNSCs have immediate beneficial effects in a novel porcine controlled cortical impact TBI model.

Research Grant: NIH 1R01NS093314-01A1

Student Support: 2017 AVMA/AVMF 2nd Opportunity Research Scholarship

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