Mild TBI-associated blood proteomics have become an emerging focus in the past decade, with the FDA recently approving the use of a blood test to determine the necessity of a computed tomography scan after adult mTBI. We now also know that the blood proteome of children is different from that of adults, and new evidence suggests that children may take longer to recover from an mTBI. Despite this, comparatively fewer studies have analyzed changes in blood protein expression after pediatric mTBI.
In the current study, we used a multiplex immunoassay to measure blood protein expression at admission, one to four days, two weeks, and three months post-pediatric concussion, comparing patients with normal recovery (n = 9) with those with persisting symptoms (n = 9). We identified significant differences in IL-6 (p < 0.001) and tau (p = 0.048) protein expression across time post-injury irrespective of clinical outcome and in IL-8 protein expression (p = 0.041) across time post-injury specific to children with persisting symptoms. Significantly, we have identified an increase in TNFα protein expression at one to four days post-injury (p = 0.031) in children with persisting symptoms compared with normal recovery.