Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cell-saving drugs could reduce brain damage after stroke

Date:
March 26, 2014
Source:
University College London
Summary:
Long-term brain damage caused by stroke could be reduced by saving cells called pericytes that control blood flow in capillaries, reports a new study. The results show not only that pericytes are the main regulator of blood flow to the brain, but also that they tighten and die around capillaries after stroke. This significantly impairs blood flow in the long term, causing lasting damage to brain cells.

Long-term brain damage caused by stroke could be reduced by saving cells called pericytes that control blood flow in capillaries, reports a new study led by scientists from UCL (University College London).

Until now, many scientists believed that blood flow within the brain was solely controlled by changes in the diameter of arterioles, blood vessels that branch out from arteries into smaller capillaries. The latest research reveals that the brain's blood supply is in fact chiefly controlled by the narrowing or widening of capillaries as pericytes tighten or loosen around them.

The study, published this week in Nature, shows not only that pericytes are the main regulator of blood flow to the brain, but also that they tighten and die around capillaries after stroke. This significantly impairs blood flow in the long term, causing lasting damage to brain cells. The team of scientists from UCL, Oxford University and the University of Copenhagen showed that certain chemicals could halve pericyte death from simulated stroke in the lab, and hope to develop these into drugs to treat stroke victims.

"At present, clinicians can remove clots blocking blood flow to the brain if stroke patients reach hospital early enough," explains Professor David Attwell of UCL's Department of Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology, who led the study. "However, the capillary constriction produced by pericytes may, by restricting the blood supply for a long time, cause further damage to nerve cells even after the clot is removed. Our latest research suggests that devising drugs to prevent capillary constriction may offer new therapies for reducing the disability caused by stroke."

"This discovery offers radically new treatment approaches for stroke," says study co-author Professor Alastair Buchan, Dean of Medicine and Head of the Medical Sciences Division at Oxford University. "Importantly, we should now be able to identify drugs that target these cells. If we are able to prevent pericytes from dying, it should help restore blood flow in the brain to normal and prevent the ongoing slow damage we see after a stroke which causes so much neurological disability in our patients."

The new research also gives insight into the mechanisms underlying the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging to detect blood flow changes in the brain.

"Functional imaging allows us to see the activity of nerve cells within the human brain but until now we didn't quite know what we were looking at," explains Professor Attwell. "We have shown that pericytes initiate the increase in blood flow seen when nerve cells become active, so we now know that functional imaging signals are caused by a pericyte-mediated increase of capillary diameter. Knowing exactly what functional imaging shows will help us to better understand and interpret what we see."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Catherine N. Hall, Clare Reynell, Bodil Gesslein, Nicola B. Hamilton, Anusha Mishra, Brad A. Sutherland, Fergus M. O’Farrell, Alastair M. Buchan, Martin Lauritzen, David Attwell. Capillary pericytes regulate cerebral blood flow in health and disease. Nature, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nature13165

Cite This Page:

University College London. "Cell-saving drugs could reduce brain damage after stroke." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140326153721.htm>.
University College London. (2014, March 26). Cell-saving drugs could reduce brain damage after stroke. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140326153721.htm
University College London. "Cell-saving drugs could reduce brain damage after stroke." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140326153721.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. 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:
from the past week

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