Traumatic brain injury (TBI) imposes a significant economic and social burden. The diagnosis and prognosis of mild TBI, also called concussion, is challenging. Concussions are common among contact sport athletes. After a blow to the head, it is often difficult to determine who has had a concussion, who should be withheld from play, if a concussed athlete is ready to return to the field, and which concussed athlete will develop a post-concussion syndrome. Biomarkers can be detected in the cerebrospinal fluid and blood after traumatic brain injury and their levels may have prognostic value. Despite significant investigation, questions remain as to the trajectories of blood biomarker levels over time after mild TBI. Modeling the kinetic behavior of these biomarkers could be informative. We propose a one-compartment kinetic model for S100B, UCH-L1, NF-L, GFAP, and tau biomarker levels after mild TBI based on accepted pharmacokinetic models for oral drug absorption. We approximated model parameters using previously published studies. Since parameter estimates were approximate, we did uncertainty and sensitivity analyses. Using estimated kinetic parameters for each biomarker, we applied the model to an available post-concussion biomarker dataset of UCH-L1, GFAP, tau, and NF-L biomarkers levels. We have demonstrated the feasibility of modeling blood biomarker levels after mild TBI with a one compartment kinetic model. More work is needed to better establish model parameters and to understand the implications of the model for diagnostic use of these blood biomarkers for mild TBI.


Mathematics and Statistics

Second Department

Biological Sciences

Third Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Second Research Center/Lab

Intelligent Systems Center


Research was partially sponsored by the Mary K. Finley Missouri Endowment, the Missouri S&T Intelligent Systems Center, the National Science Foundation and the Leonard Wood Institute in cooperation with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and was accomplished under Cooperative Agreement Number W911NF-14-2-0034. Additional support came from NIH Award R15 GM117507-01A1.

Keywords and Phrases

Blood Biomarkers; Concussion; Kinetics; Mathematical Modeling; Mild Traumatic Brain Injury; Sensitivity Analysis; Uncertainty Analysis

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2021 The Authors, All rights reserved.

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Publication Date

06 Jul 2021