W Brad HubbardHemendra J VekariaOlivia J KalimonMalinda L SpryEmily P BrownTodd J KilbaughPatrick G Sullivan

Originally published via academic.oup.com on Feb. 13, 2023 as a follow up to this article.


Pioglitazone interacts through the mitochondrial protein mitoNEET to improve brain bioenergetics following traumatic brain injury. To provide broader evidence regarding the therapeutic effects of pioglitazone after traumatic brain injury, the current study is focused on immediate and delayed therapy in a model of mild brain contusion. To assess pioglitazone therapy on mitochondrial bioenergetics in cortex and hippocampus, we use a technique to isolate subpopulations of total, glia-enriched and synaptic mitochondria. Pioglitazone treatment was initially administered at either 0.25, 3, 12 or 24 h following mild controlled cortical impact. At 48 h post-injury, ipsilateral cortex and hippocampus were dissected and mitochondrial fractions were isolated. Maximal mitochondrial respiration injury-induced deficits were observed in total and synaptic fractions, and 0.25 h pioglitazone treatment following mild controlled cortical impact was able to restore respiration to sham levels. While there are no injury-induced deficits in hippocampal fractions, we do find that 3 h pioglitazone treatment after mild controlled cortical impact can significantly increase maximal mitochondrial bioenergetics compared to vehicle-treated mild controlled cortical impact group. However, delayed pioglitazone treatment initiated at either 3 or 24 h after mild brain contusion does not improve spared cortical tissue. We demonstrate that synaptic mitochondrial deficits following mild focal brain contusion can be restored with early initiation of pioglitazone treatment. Further investigation is needed to determine functional improvements with pioglitazone beyond that of overt cortical tissue sparing following mild contusion traumatic brain injury.