Skip to Content

Concussion Associated Biomarkers

One common symptom of concussions is depression that follows impact. Since serotonin is related to depression, this study looks at the precursor of serotonin, tryptophan. The purpose of this study is to be able to identity concussion associated blood biomarkers, specifically the role of tryptophan in concussions. Blood samples from DU’s Athletes will be used, specifically their plasma from before, during and after concussions. The data processing uses the plasma from the athlete’s blood. In brief, the sample is filtered, and large molecules (proteins) eliminated. Next, Fluorescein Isothiocyanate (FITC) is added to the filtered plasma (for 24 hours in the dark) to label the free amine groups (from the amino acids, including tryptophan) Then samples are run through the Capillary Zone Electrophoresis System (CZE) and the signal (peaks, corresponding the amino acids, specifically tryptophan). Tryptophan will be identified by spiking the samples with a standard solution of tryptophan (at a known concentration). This allows tryptophan to be easily identified. After the correct peak has been identified as tryptophan the concentration is then found by finding the area under the peak. This process is repeated with plasma samples from before, during and after concussion to determine if tryptophan has decreased. The expected results are that there will be an elevation in the tryptophan curve, biggest after the 24-hour mark, then still slightly elevated at the post-concussion point as well. This project could have implications to be able to help explain why depression occurs after concussions, as well as help explore possible treatments to deal with that depression.