In Vivo Detection of Extracellular Adenosine Triphosphate in a Mouse Model of Traumatic Brain Injury

Ayman H. Faroqi, Melina J. Lim, Emma C. Kee, Jannifer H. Lee, Jeremy D. Burgess, Ridong Chen, Francesco Di Virgilio, Marion Delenclos, Pamela J. McLean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is traditionally characterized by primary and secondary injury phases, both contributing to pathological and morphological changes. The mechanisms of damage and chronic consequences of TBI remain to be fully elucidated, but synaptic homeostasis disturbances and impaired energy metabolism are proposed to be a major contributor. It has been proposed that an increase of extracellular (eATP) adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the area immediately surrounding impact may play a pivotal role in this sequence of events. After tissue injury, rupture of cell membranes allows release of intracellular ATP into the extracellular space, triggering a cascade of toxic events and inflammation. ATP is a ubiquitous messenger; however, simple and reliable techniques to measure its concentration have proven elusive. Here, we integrate a sensitive bioluminescent eATP sensor known as pmeLUC, with a controlled cortical impact mouse model to monitor eATP changes in a living animal after injury. Using the pmeLUC probe, a rapid increase of eATP is observed proximal to the point of impact within minutes of the injury. This event is significantly attenuated when animals are pretreated with an ATP hydrolyzing agent (apyrase) before surgery, confirming the contribution of eATP. This new eATP reporter could be useful for understanding the role of eATP in the pathogenesis in TBI and may identify a window of opportunity for therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-664
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • CCI
  • TBI
  • extracellular ATP
  • pmeLUC
  • yes in vivo Imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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