Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a primary injury caused by external physical force and also a secondary injury caused by biological processes such as metabolic, cellular, and other molecular events that eventually lead to brain cell death, tissue and nerve damage, and atrophy. It is a common disease process (as opposed to an event) that causes disabilities and high death rates. In order to treat all the repercussions of this injury, treatment becomes increasingly complex and difficult throughout the evolution of a TBI. Using high-throughput microarray data, we developed a systems biology approach to explore potential molecular mechanisms at four time points post-TBI (4, 8, 24, and 72 h), using a controlled cortical impact (CCI) model. We identified 27, 50, 48, and 59 significant proteins as network biomarkers at these four time points, respectively. We present their network structures to illustrate the protein-protein interactions (PPIs). We also identified UBC (Ubiquitin C), SUMO1, CDKN1A (cyclindependent kinase inhibitor 1A), and MYC as the core network biomarkers at the four time points, respectively. Using the functional analytical tool MetaCore™, we explored regulatory mechanisms and biological processes and conducted a statistical analysis of the four networks. The analytical results support some recent findings regarding TBI and provide additional guidance and directions for future research.
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