Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers' Discovery Is Gateway To New Stroke Treatments

Date:
September 13, 2004
Source:
University Of British Columbia
Summary:
There may be new treatments for stroke, migraine, Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders, thanks to the discovery of a mechanism for regulating brain blood flow made by researchers at the University of British Columbia.

There may be new treatments for stroke, migraine, Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders, thanks to the discovery of a mechanism for regulating brain blood flow made by researchers at the University of British Columbia.

Related Articles


Scientists found that astrocytes -- cells that surround nerve cells and all blood vessels in the brain -- have a primary role in regulating blood flow within the brain, and hold promise as a target for new therapies.

The findings of the two-year study funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Stroke Network were published this week in Nature by UBC post-doctoral fellow Sean Mulligan and Brian MacVicar, a professor in the Brain Research Centre and the Dept. of Psychiatry at UBC and an investigator with the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI).

Using a new technique that they developed to study brain blood flow, Mulligan and MacVicar found that a rise of calcium within the astrocytes instructs the blood vessels to constrict, which alters blood flow.

Brain blood flow supplies energy for brain activities. Vessel contraction and dilation is a normal part of brain functioning, however, improperly regulated flow can result in brain disorder or damage. Calcium flow in the brain is not influenced by diet.

“This is an exciting find because it gives us a new site to investigate,” says MacVicar, Canada Research Chair in Neuroscience. “This discovery highlights the complex communication between astrocytes and blood vessels, and research can now be focused on understanding and controlling these communication pathways.”

The discovery that astrocytes cause constriction upsets earlier theories that astrocytes might cause vessels to dilate, he adds.

“This discovery will serve as a gateway to new treatments and is of fundamental importance in understanding how the brain regulates blood flow,” says Dr. Bruce McManus, Scientific Director of the Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

“This powerful research gives us new targets against which to develop a new generation of drugs to minimize stroke damage to the brain,” adds Dr. Antoine Hakim, CEO and Scientific Director of the Canadian Stroke Network.

Next steps in the research include determining how to block the calcium in astrocytes to reduce damage caused by inadequate brain blood flow. MacVicar estimates treatments may be available in five to 10 years.

Every year, 50,000 Canadians suffer a stroke, or "brain attack." Another 300,000 people are living with the consequences of stroke, which is the leading cause of adult disability in Canada.

The Brain Research Centre, located at UBC Hospital, comprises more than 150 investigators with multidisciplinary expertise in neuroscience research ranging from the test tube, to the bedside, to industrial spin-offs.

VCHRI is a joint venture between UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health that promotes development of new researchers and research activity.

CIHR is Canada's premier agency for health research. Its objective is to excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened health care system.

The Canadian Stroke Network includes more than 100 of Canada's leading scientists and clinicians from 24 universities who work collaboratively on various aspects of stroke. The Network, which is headquartered at the University of Ottawa, also includes partners from industry, the non-profit sector, provincial and federal governments Canada Research Chairs are federally funded research positions that are the centerpiece of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world's top five countries for research and development.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of British Columbia. "Researchers' Discovery Is Gateway To New Stroke Treatments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040913083949.htm>.
University Of British Columbia. (2004, September 13). Researchers' Discovery Is Gateway To New Stroke Treatments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040913083949.htm
University Of British Columbia. "Researchers' Discovery Is Gateway To New Stroke Treatments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040913083949.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 9 out of 10 excessive drinkers in the country are not alcohol dependent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins