Blood-based biomarkers of inflammation in mild traumatic brain injury: A systematic review

Koen Visser*, Milou Koggel, Jurre Blaauw, Harm Jan van der Horn, Bram Jacobs, Joukje van der Naalt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
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Inflammation is an important secondary physiological response to traumatic brain injury (TBI). Most of the current knowledge on this response is derived from research in moderate and severe TBI. In this systematic review we summarize the literature on clinical studies measuring blood based inflammatory markers following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and identify the value of inflammatory markers as biomarkers. Twenty-three studies were included. This review suggests a distinct systemic inflammatory response following mTBI, quantifiable within 6 hours up to 12 months post-injury. Interleukin-6 is the most promising biomarker for the clinical diagnosis of brain injury while interleukin-10 is a potential candidate for triaging CT scans. The diagnostic and prognostic utility of inflammatory markers may be more fully appreciated as a component of a panel of biomarkers. However, discrepancies in study design, analysis and reporting make it difficult to draw any definite conclusions. For the same reasons, a meta-analysis was not possible. We provide recommendations to follow standardized methodologies to allow for reproducibility of results in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-168
Number of pages15
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Early online date23-Nov-2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2022

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