New Hope for Stroke Victims
Published : 2011-02-09
Author : Weizmann Institute of Science
🛈 Synopsis : Much of the devastation of stroke and head trauma is due to damage caused the overproduction of a substance in the brain called glutamate.
Main Digest2 new studies support a novel approach based on Weizmann Institute scientists' research.
Much of the devastation of stroke and head trauma is due to damage caused the overproduction of a substance in the brain called glutamate. Preventing this damage has been impossible, until now, as many drugs don't cross the so-called blood-brain barrier, and those that do often don't work as intended. But a method originally devised at the Weizmann Institute of Science may, in the future, offer a way to avert such glutamate-induced harm.
Prof. Vivian I. Teichberg of the Institute's Neurobiology Department first demonstrated a possible way around these problems in 2003. Glutamate - a short-lived neurotransmitter - is normally all but absent in brain fluids. After a stroke or injury, however, the glutamate levels in brain fluid become a flood that over-excites the cells in its path and kills them. Instead of attempting to get drugs into the brain, Teichberg had the idea that one might be able to transport glutamate from the brain to the blood using the tiny "pumps," or transporters, on the capillaries that work on differences in glutamate concentration between the two sides. Decreasing glutamate levels in blood would create a stronger impetus to pump the substance out of the brain. He thought that a naturally-occurring enzyme called glutamate-oxaloacetate transaminase (GOT, for short) could "scavenge" blood glutamate, significantly lowering its levels. By 2007, Teichberg and his colleagues had provided clear evidence of the very strong brain neuro-protection that oxolacetate (a chemical similar to GOT) afforded rats exposed to a head trauma.
Two new studies - conducted by Fransisco Campos and others from the lab of Prof. Jose Castillo in the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain - now provide a definitive demonstration of Teichberg's results. In the first, the scientists conclusively showed that oxoloacetate injected into rats with stroke-like brain injuries reduces glutamate levels both in the blood and in the affected brain region, while significantly lessening both cell death and the swelling that can accompany stroke. In the second, a team of neurologists in two different hospitals checked the levels of glutamate and GOT in several hundred stroke victims who were admitted to their hospitals. They found that the most significant predictor of the prognosis - how well they would recover at three months and how much brain damage they would suffer - was the levels of these two substances. High glutamate levels correlated with a poor outcome, high GOT levels with a better one.
The overall implication of these two papers is that administering GOT might improve a patient's chances of recovering, as well as speeding up the process. In addition to stroke and head trauma, a number of diseases are characterized by an accumulation of glutamate in the brain, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma, certain brain tumors and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and there is hope that, in the future, treatments to scavenge glutamate could relieve the symptoms and improve the outcomes for a number of neurological problems. Yeda, the technology transfer arm of the Weizmann Institute, holds a patent for this method.
Prof. Vivian I. Teichberg's research is supported by the Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for Neurosciences; the Carl and Micaela Einhorn-Dominic Brain Research Institute; and the Legacy Heritage Fund Program of the Israel Science Foundation. Prof. Teichberg is the incumbent of the Louis and Florence Katz-Cohen Professorial Chair of Neuropharmacology.
Related Stroke Documents
- 1: Aerobics May Improve Walking and Endurance After Stroke : Research reveals stroke survivors who completed group aerobic exercise programs similar to cardiac rehabilitation programs significantly improved aerobic endurance and walking ability.
- 2: Inflammation Identified as New Therapeutic Target Years After Stroke : Breakthrough in stroke research identifying the potential reversibility of chronic neurologic disability in stroke survivors.
- 3: Wearable Stretchable Electronics Aid Stroke Recovery Treatment : New wearable designed to be worn on the throat could be a game-changer in the field of stroke rehabilitation.
- 4: Stroke Affects More Than Just Physical Functioning : After a stroke, people who have only mild disability can often have hidden problems that can really affect their quality of life.
- 5: Newborns Who Experience Stroke Regain Language Function in Opposite Side of Brain : Researchers extending study of brain function after perinatal stroke looking at both left and right brain strokes and also whether brain functions other than language are relocated and where.
You're reading Disabled World. Be sure to check out our homepage for further informative disability news, reviews, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can also follow Disabled World on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Disclaimer: Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Any 3rd party offering or advertising on disabled-world.com does not constitute endorsement by Disabled World. View our Advertising Policy for further information. Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.
Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: Weizmann Institute of Science. Electronic Publication Date: 2011-02-09. Title: New Hope for Stroke Victims, Source: <a href=https://www.disabled-world.com/health/neurology/stroke/stroke-hope.php>New Hope for Stroke Victims</a>. Retrieved 2021-04-13, from https://www.disabled-world.com/health/neurology/stroke/stroke-hope.php - Reference: DW#178-6890.