Recent insights from non-mammalian models of brain injuries: an emerging literature

Nicole J. Katchur, Daniel A. Notterman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major global health concern and is increasingly recognized as a risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Repetitive TBIs (rTBIs), commonly observed in contact sports, military service, and intimate partner violence (IPV), pose a significant risk for long-term sequelae. To study the long-term consequences of TBI and rTBI, researchers have typically used mammalian models to recapitulate brain injury and neurodegenerative phenotypes. However, there are several limitations to these models, including: (1) lengthy observation periods, (2) high cost, (3) difficult genetic manipulations, and (4) ethical concerns regarding prolonged and repeated injury of a large number of mammals. Aquatic vertebrate model organisms, including Petromyzon marinus (sea lampreys), zebrafish (Danio rerio), and invertebrates, Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), and Drosophila melanogaster (Drosophila), are emerging as valuable tools for investigating the mechanisms of rTBI and tauopathy. These non-mammalian models offer unique advantages, including genetic tractability, simpler nervous systems, cost-effectiveness, and quick discovery-based approaches and high-throughput screens for therapeutics, which facilitate the study of rTBI-induced neurodegeneration and tau-related pathology. Here, we explore the use of non-vertebrate and aquatic vertebrate models to study TBI and neurodegeneration. Drosophila, in particular, provides an opportunity to explore the longitudinal effects of mild rTBI and its impact on endogenous tau, thereby offering valuable insights into the complex interplay between rTBI, tauopathy, and neurodegeneration. These models provide a platform for mechanistic studies and therapeutic interventions, ultimately advancing our understanding of the long-term consequences associated with rTBI and potential avenues for intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1378620
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


  • neurodegeneration
  • non-mammalian models
  • repetitive brain injury
  • tauopathy
  • traumatic brain injury


Dive into the research topics of 'Recent insights from non-mammalian models of brain injuries: an emerging literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this