Infection is an important post-stroke problem

October 26, 2011

After a stroke the brain tries to protect itself by blocking all inflammation. However, this also makes the patient highly susceptible to infection which can lead to death. Researchers have now discovered the mechanism behind this response and how to possibly treat it. The research is published this month in the journal Science.

Using a , scientists at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine have discovered Natural Killer T-cells (NKT) are the that get activated in the patient after a stroke. The cells suppress the immune system as the body tries to prevent inflammation to protect the brain. The researchers have also found a new drug that can stop the from suppressing the immune system, stopping the infections.

"When we discovered that these novel NKT cells are important in fighting infection in stroke, we were able to specifically target them. This means that infections can be controlled without having to administer high levels of antibiotics," says Paul Kubes, PhD, senior author of the study and director of the Snyder Institute at the University of Calgary. "This in its own right is important to avoid over-usage of antibiotics leading to development of anti-biotic of bacteria."

Early indications are that NKT cells in humans behave very similarly to NKT cells in mice making this highly relevant to human stroke.

"The research does not cure the stroke itself," says Connie Wong, PhD , also a co-author of the study and member of the Snyder Institute at the University of Calgary , "But by providing novel therapies it holds the promise to significantly decrease associated with stroke."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Functional human liver cells grown in the lab

November 26, 2015

In new research appearing in the prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology, an international research team led by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem describes a new technique for growing human hepatocytes in the laboratory. ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.