Stanford University School of Medicine neuroscientists have demonstrated, in a study to be published online April 24 in Stroke, that a compound mimicking a key activity of a hefty, brain-based protein is capable of increasing the generation of new nerve cells, or neurons, in the brains of mice that have had strokes. The mice also exhibited a speedier recovery of their athletic ability.
These results are promising, because the compound wasn't administered to the animals until a full three days after they had suffered strokes, said the study's senior author, Marion Buckwalter, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of neurology and neurological sciences. This means that the compound works not by limiting a stroke's initial damage to the brain, but by enhancing recovery.
This is of critical significance, said Buckwalter, a practicing clinical neurologist who often treats recently arrived stroke patients in Stanford Hospital's intensive care unit.
"No existing therapeutic agents today enhance recovery from stroke," Buckwalter said. "The only approved stroke drug, tissue plasminogen activator, can bust up clots that initially caused the stroke but does nothing to stimulate the restoration of brain function later." Furthermore, to be effective, tPA has to be given within four and a half hours after a stroke has occurred, she added. "In real life, many people don't get to the hospital that quickly. They may live alone or have their stroke while sleeping, or they and the people close to them didn't recognize the stroke's symptoms well enough to realize they'd just had one."
Looking for an alternative, Buckwalter chose to focus on a compound called LM22A-4, which had shown promise in previous research. LM22A-4 is a small molecule whose bulk is less than one-seventieth that of the brain protein it mimics: brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a powerful and long-studied nerve growth factor. BDNF is critical during the development of the nervous system and known to be involved in important brain functions including memory and learning.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Potential new treatment for stroke discovered
Potential new treatment for stroke discovered. Researchers find compound capable of increasing the generation of new nerve cells