© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The clinical challenge in acute injury as in traumatic brain injury (TBI) is to halt the delayed neuronal loss that occurs hours and days after the insult. Here we report that the activation of CREB-dependent transcription in reactive astrocytes prevents secondary injury in cerebral cortex after experimental TBI. The study was performed in a novel bitransgenic mouse in which a constitutively active CREB, VP16-CREB, was targeted to astrocytes with the Tet-Off system. Using histochemistry, qPCR, and gene profiling we found less neuronal death and damage, reduced macrophage infiltration, preserved mitochondria, and rescued expression of genes related to mitochondrial metabolism in bitransgenic mice as compared to wild type littermates. Finally, with meta-analyses using publicly available databases we identified a core set of VP16-CREB candidate target genes that may account for the neuroprotective effect. Enhancing CREB activity in astrocytes thus emerges as a novel avenue in acute brain post-injury therapeutics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-874
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • Astrocytes
  • CREB
  • Mitochondria
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Traumatic brain injury


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