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This article is the author's final published version in Scientific Reports, Volume 13, Issue 1, 2023, Article number 16142.

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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in activated microglia. Activated microglia can be measured in vivo by using positron emission topography (PET) ligand peripheral benzodiazepine receptor standardized uptake values (PBR28suv). Cell based therapies have utilized autologous bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMNCs) to attenuate activated microglia after TBI. This study aims to utilize in vivo PBR28suv to assess the efficacy of BMMNCs therapy after TBI. Seventy-two hours after CCI injury, BMMNCs were harvested from the tibia and injected via tail-vein at 74 h after injury at a concentration of 2 million cells per kilogram of body weight. There were three groups of rats: Sham, CCI-alone and CCI-BMMNCs (AUTO). One hundred twenty days after injury, rodents were imaged with PBR28 and their cognitive behavior assessed utilizing the Morris Water Maze. Subsequent ex vivo analysis included brain volume and immunohistochemistry. BMMNCs therapy attenuated PBR28suv in comparison to CCI alone and it improved spatial learning as measured by the Morris Water Maze. Ex vivo analysis demonstrated preservation of brain volume, a decrease in amoeboid-shaped microglia in the dentate gyrus and an increase in the ratio of ramified to amoeboid microglia in the thalamus. PBR28suv is a viable option to measure efficacy of BMMNCs therapy after TBI.

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