New drug limits and then repairs brain damage in stroke

November 25, 2016, University of Manchester
Micrograph showing cortical pseudolaminar necrosis, a finding seen in strokes on medical imaging and at autopsy. H&E-LFB stain. Credit: Nephron/Wikipedia

Researchers at The University of Manchester have discovered that a potential new drug reduces the number of brain cells destroyed by stroke and then helps to repair the damage.

A reduction in blood flow to the brain caused by is a major cause of death and disability, and there are few effective treatments.

A team of scientists at The University of Manchester has now found that a potential new stroke drug not only works in rodents by limiting the death of existing brain cells but also by promoting the birth of new neurones (so-called neurogenesis).

This finding provides further support for the development of this anti-inflammatory drug, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra in short), as a new treatment for stroke. The drug is already licensed for use in humans for some conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. Several clinical trials in stroke with IL-1Ra have already been completed in Manchester, though it is not yet licensed for this condition.

In the research, published in the biomedical journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, the researchers show that in rodents with a stroke there is not only reduced brain damage early on after the stroke, but several days later increased numbers of new neurones, when treated with the anti-inflammatory drug IL-1Ra.

Previous attempts to find a to prevent after stroke have proved unsuccessful and this new research offers the possibility of a new treatment.

Importantly, the use of IL-1Ra might be better than other failed drugs in stroke as it not only limits the initial damage to brain cells, but also helps the brain repair itself long-term through the generation of new .

These new cells are thought to help restore function to areas of the brain damaged by the stroke. Earlier work by the same group showed that treatment with IL-1Ra does indeed help rodents regain motor skills that were initially lost after a stroke. Early stage clinical trials in also suggest that IL-1Ra could be beneficial.

The current research is led by Professor Stuart Allan, who commented: "The results lend further strong support to the use of IL-1Ra in the treatment of stroke, however further large trials are necessary."

The paper, 'Reparative effects of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist in young and aged/co-morbid rodents after cerebral ischemia', was published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

Explore further: Outcome of stroke worse for people with infection

More information: Jesus.M. Pradillo et al, Reparative Effects of Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist in Young And Aged/Co-Morbid Rodents After Cerebral Ischemia, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2016.11.013

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TheGhostofOtto1923
4.5 / 5 (2) Nov 26, 2016
This sounds suspiciously like something a whole lot bigger. Most of our brains have things wrong with them. Genetic deformity, damage from chemicals, disease, trauma, malnutrition. Could we be on the verge of something that could re-optimize them?

If we can restore mental health by fixing broken brains, people would no longer have ADHD. They could concentrate and remember, and control their compulsions.

Perhaps we could even give psychopaths the emotions they never had. But then they may be doomed to unremitting self-disgust for the things they've done and terror that their victims would be seeking them out.

Revenge is the healthiest of emotions.

They probably couldn't even pray for forgiveness because if everybody's brain was healthy, religion would probably disappear.

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