Compared to traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the adult population, pediatric TBI has received less research attention, despite its potential long-term impact on the lives of many children around the world. After numerous clinical trials and preclinical research studies examining various secondary mechanisms of injury, no definitive treatment has been found for pediatric TBIs of any severity. With the advent of high-throughput and high-resolution molecular biology and imaging techniques, inflammation has become an appealing target, due to its mixed effects on outcome, depending on the time point examined. In this review, we outline key mechanisms of inflammation, the contribution and interactions of the peripheral and CNS-based immune cells, and highlight knowledge gaps pertaining to inflammation in pediatric TBI. We also introduce the application of network analysis to leverage growing multivariate and non-linear inflammation data sets with the goal to gain a more comprehensive view of inflammation and develop prognostic and treatment tools in pediatric TBI.
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