Skip to content

Researchers identify the mechanism of stroke damage.

Researchers have discovered a mechanism linked to the brain damage often suffered by stroke victims, and are now searching for drugs to block it.

Strokes happen when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off but much of the harm to survivors’ memory and other cognitive function is often actually caused by oxidative stress in the hours and days after the blood supply resumes.

A team from the University of Leeds and Zhejiang University studied this second phase of damage in laboratory mice and found a mechanism in neurons that, if removed, reduced the damage to brain function.

The team state that until now, much of the drug research has been focussing on the direct damage caused by the loss of blood flow, but this phase can be hard to target. The patient may not even be in the ambulance when it is happening. Yhe researchers found a mechanism that is linked to the next phase of damage that will often be underway after patients have been admitted to hospital.

The opensource study, published in the journal Cell Death and Disease, looked at the damage caused by the excessive production of chemicals called reactive oxygen species in brain tissues immediately after blood supply is re-established. In a healthy brain, there are very low levels of reactive oxygen species, but the quantity dramatically increases after a stroke to levels that are harmful to neurons.

The team identified an ion channel in the membranes of neurons, called TRPM2, which is switched on in the presence of the reactive oxygen species. Basically, an ion channel is a door in the membrane of a cell that allows it to communicate with the outside world, TRPM2 opens when the harmful levels of reactive oxygen species are present and the team found that removing it significantly reduced neuronal cell damage.

The researchers compared the effects of strokes on mice with TRPM2 with a transgenic strain without it.

In the mice in which the TRPM2 channel does not function, the reactive oxygen species are still produced but the neurons are very much protected. The neuronal death is significantly reduced.

This study has pinpointed a very promising drug target. The team are now screening a large chemical library to find ways of effectively inhibiting this channel. Our ongoing research using animal models is testing whether blockage of this channel can offer protection again brain damage and cognitive dysfunction in stroke patients.

Source:  University of Leeds

 

TRPM2 expression in hippocampal pyramidal neurons. (a) Representative immunofluorescent images showing expression of TRPM2 in CaMKII-positive pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus including CA1 region. DAPI (4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) staining and merged images are also shown.  TRPM2 channel deficiency prevents delayed cytosolic Zn2+ accumulation and CA1 pyramidal neuronal death after transient global ischemia.  Jiang et al 2014.
TRPM2 expression in hippocampal pyramidal neurons. (a) Representative immunofluorescent images showing expression of TRPM2 in CaMKII-positive pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus including CA1 region. DAPI (4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) staining and merged images are also shown. TRPM2 channel deficiency prevents delayed cytosolic Zn2+ accumulation and CA1 pyramidal neuronal death after transient global ischemia. Jiang et al 2014.

Healthinnovations View All

Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations, having worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years, which includes tenure within the NHS and Oxford University. Healthinnovations is a publication that has reported on, influenced, and researched current and future innovations in health for the past decade.

Michelle has been picked up as an expert writer for Informa publisher’s Clinical Trials community, as well as being listed as a blog source by the world’s leading medical journals, including the acclaimed Nature-Springer journal series.

Healthinnovations is currently indexed by the trusted Altmetric and PlumX metrics systems, respectively, as a blog source for published research globally. Healthinnovations is also featured in the world-renowned BioPortfolio, BioPortfolio.com, the life science, pharmaceutical and healthcare portal.

Most recently the Texas A&M University covered The Top 10 Healthinnovations series on their site with distinguished Professor Stephen Maren calling the inclusion of himself and his team on the list a reflection of “the hard work and dedication of my students and trainees”.

Michelle Petersen’s copy was used in the highly successful marketing campaign for the mega-hit film ‘Jumanji: The Next Level, starring Jack Black, Karen Gilian, Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Michelle Petersen’s copywriting was part of the film’s coverage by the Republic TV network. Republic TV is the most-watched English language TV channel in India since its inception in 2017.

An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within healthcare.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.