A naturally occurring growth factor called neuregulin-1 protects brain cells from damage resulting from stroke, according to an animal study conducted by researchers at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and the Atlanta-based Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN). The finding, reported in the online edition of Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, could lead to the development of new stroke treatments.
Stroke, the third leading cause of death in adults in the United States, occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Deprived of oxygen, brain cells die within minutes, causing inflammation and further damage to tissue surrounding the site where blood flow is obstructed.
In the study, a research team led by Byron Ford, PhD, of the MSM Neuroscience Institute and Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and CBN, examined the effects of administering neuregulin-1 to rats after surgically induced strokes. The scientists discovered the compound reduced cell death by 90 percent compared to rats that did not receive it. Neuregulin-1 also protected neurons from damage even when administered as long as 13 hours after the stroke's onset.
In DNA microarray analysis of the affected brain tissue, Ford and his team determined neuregulin-1 produces its protective effects by turning on or off nearly 1,000 genes that regulate cell death and inflammation. Neuregulin-1 also blocks the production of free radicals, compounds that have been implicated in cell injury and aging.
Currently, a drug called TPA is the only available stroke treatment, and must be administered within three hours of stroke onset to be effective. "The biggest potential benefit of neuregulin-1 is that its therapeutic window is much longer than TPA, potentially up to 48 hours," said Ford. "It also appears to easily cross the blood-brain barrier and does not produce any obvious side effects in rats."
Ford has filed two provisional patents for the uses of neuregulin-1 as a stPage: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Shandra Hill Smith
Emory University Health Sciences Center
. Growth factors given with chemotherapy associated with increased risk of blood diseases2
. Growth hormone stimulators improve physical function in older adults3
. Growth-factor therapy improves endothelial cell production and mobility in arterial disease4
. Growth patterns into childhood reveal risk of coronary heart disease later in life5
. Growth hormone illegal for off-label anti-aging use, study warns6
. Conventional prognostic factors fail to explain better prostate cancer survival in most Asian men7
. Study, meta-analysis examine factors associated with death from heatstroke8
. Talking sex on the factory floor in China9
. Parents and schools, major factors in China obesity boom10
. Smoking and sleep top the list of lifestyle factors impacting oral health11
. Reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors when discontinuing hormone replacement therapy