Elevated Axonal Protein Markers Following Repetitive Blast Exposure in Military Personnel

Rany Vorn, Rosanne Naunheim, Chen Lai, Chelsea Wagner, Jessica M. Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Blast exposures that occur during training are common in military personnel; however, the biomarkers that relate to these subtle injuries is not well understood. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identify the acute biomarkers related to blast injury in a cohort of military personnel exposure to blast-related training. Thirty-four military personnel who participated in the training program were included in this study. Blood samples were collected before and after repetitive blast-related training on days 2 (n = 19) and days 7 (n = 15). Serum concentration (pg/mL) of tau, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), neurofilament light chain (NfL), and phosphorylated tau181 (p-tau181) were measured using an ultrasensitive immunoassay platform. We observed that serum p-tau181 concentrations were elevated after exposed to repetitive blast on days 2 (z = −2.983, p = 0.003) and days 7 (z = −2.158, p = 0.031). Serum tau (z = −2.272, p = 0.023) and NfL (z = −2.158, p = 0.031) levels were significantly elevated after exposure to repetitive blasts on days 7. Our findings indicate that blast exposure affects serum biomarkers indicating axonal injury.

Original languageEnglish
Article number853616
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
StatePublished - Apr 29 2022


  • axonal
  • biomarker
  • concussion
  • low level blast
  • repetitive blast


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