The microtubule-modulating drug epothilone D alters dendritic spine morphology in a mouse model of mild traumatic brain injury

Jyoti A. Chuckowree, Zhendan Zhu, Mariana Brizuela, Ka M. Lee, Catherine A. Blizzard, Tracey C. Dickson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)
    1 Downloads (Pure)


    Microtubule dynamics underpin a plethora of roles involved in the intricate development, structure, function, and maintenance of the central nervous system. Within the injured brain, microtubules are vulnerable to misalignment and dissolution in neurons and have been implicated in injury-induced glial responses and adaptive neuroplasticity in the aftermath of injury. Unfortunately, there is a current lack of therapeutic options for treating traumatic brain injury (TBI). Thus, using a clinically relevant model of mild TBI, lateral fluid percussion injury (FPI) in adult male Thy1-YFPH mice, we investigated the potential therapeutic effects of the brain-penetrant microtubule-stabilizing agent, epothilone D. At 7 days following a single mild lateral FPI the ipsilateral hemisphere was characterized by mild astroglial activation and a stereotypical and widespread pattern of axonal damage in the internal and external capsule white matter tracts. These alterations occurred in the absence of other overt signs of trauma: there were no alterations in cortical thickness or in the number of cortical projection neurons, axons or dendrites expressing YFP. Interestingly, a single low dose of epothilone D administered immediately following FPI (and sham-operation) caused significant alterations in the dendritic spines of layer 5 cortical projection neurons, while the astroglial response and axonal pathology were unaffected. Specifically, spine length was significantly decreased, whereas the density of mushroom spines was significantly increased following epothilone D treatment. Together, these findings have implications for the use of microtubule stabilizing agents in manipulating injury-induced synaptic plasticity and indicate that further study into the viability of microtubule stabilization as a therapeutic strategy in combating TBI is warranted.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number223
    Number of pages11
    JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2018

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright © 2018 Chuckowree, Zhu, Brizuela, Lee, Blizzard and Dickson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


    • traumatic brain injury
    • fluid percussion injury
    • neuroplasticity
    • microtubule stabilization
    • Epothilone D
    • dendritic spine
    • cortical projection neuron
    • mushroom spine
    • Mushroom spine
    • Neuroplasticity
    • Traumatic brain injury
    • Microtubule stabilization
    • Cortical projection neuron
    • Dendritic spine
    • Fluid percussion injury


    Dive into the research topics of 'The microtubule-modulating drug epothilone D alters dendritic spine morphology in a mouse model of mild traumatic brain injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this