Nav: Home

This gene could play a major role in reducing brain swelling after stroke

April 15, 2019

Could a medication someday help the brain heal itself after a stroke, or even prevent damage following a blow to the head? A new USC study lends support to the idea.

When a person has a stroke, the brain responds with inflammation, which expands the area of injury and leads to more disability. In the April 9 issue of Cell Reports, USC researchers describe a key gene involved with tamping down inflammation in the brain, as well as what happens when the injured brain gets an added boost of that gene.

The gene -- called TRIM9 -- is abundant in the youthful brain but grows scarce with age, just as people become more at risk from stroke. In a lab model of stroke, researchers found that older brains with low TRIM9 levels -- or engineered brains missing the TRIM9 gene entirely -- were prone to extensive swelling following stroke.

But when the scientists used a harmless virus to carry a dose of the gene directly into TRIM9-deficient brains, the swelling decreased dramatically and recovery improved.

Jae Jung, lead author and chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, says it's unlikely that gene therapy delivered by viruses will become the go-to treatment for strokes, head injuries or encephalitis. It's too slow, he said, and the best shot at treating stroke is within the first 30 minutes to one hour. Jung says the next step will be identifying what, exactly, flips on the switch for TRIM9 gene expression.

"Maybe there will be a way to chemically activate TRIM9 right after a stroke," Jung said. "Or maybe a football player can take a medication that turns on TRIM9 gene expression right after they get a blow to the head."

Not all inflammation in the brain is bad, Jung added. Inflammation plays a role in fighting infection and helps clear away dead tissue. But when it goes on too long, neurons die; inflammation causes the brain's blood vessels to become permeable, allowing white blood cells to enter tissue where they don't belong.
-end-
In addition to Jung, the paper's other authors are Berislav Zlokovic and Zhen Zhao of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the Keck School; co-first authors Jianxiong Zeng and Yaoming Wang, Zhifei Luo Lin-Chun Chang, Ji Seung Yoo, Huan Yan, Younho Choi and Xiaochun Xie, all of the Keck School; Benjamin Deverman and Viviana Gradinaru of the California Institute of Technology; and Stephanie Gupton of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants CA200422, CA180779, DE023926, DE027888, DE28521, AI073099, AI116585, AI129496, AI140718, 9R01NS090904-16 and AI140705), the Hastings Foundation, the Fletcher Jones Foundation, the Alzheimer's Association (grant NIRG-15-363387), the Whittier Foundation, the Cure for Alzheimer's Fund (NS090904), Fondation Leducq Transatlantic Network of Excellence for the Study of Perivascular Spaces in Small Vessel Disease (reference 16 CVD 05 and GM108970), the Beckman Institute at Caltech through the Resource Center for CLARITY, Optogenetics and Vector Engineering, and an NIH Director's New Innovator Award (DP20D017782).

University of Southern California

Related Stroke Articles:

More stroke awareness, better eating habits may help reduce stroke risk for young adult African-Americans
Young African-Americans are experiencing higher rates of stroke because of health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, yet their perception of their stroke risk is low.
How to help patients recover after a stroke
The existing approach to brain stimulation for rehabilitation after a stroke does not take into account the diversity of lesions and the individual characteristics of patients' brains.
Kids with headache after stroke might be at risk for another stroke
A new study has found a high incidence of headaches in pediatric stroke survivors and identified a possible association between post-stroke headache and stroke recurrence.
High stroke impact in low- and middle-income countries examined at 11th World Stroke Congress
Less wealthy countries struggle to meet greater need with far fewer resources.
Marijuana use might lead to higher risk of stroke, World Stroke Congress to be told
A five-year study of hospital statistics from the United States shows that the incidence of stroke has risen steadily among marijuana users even though the overall rate of stroke remained constant over the same period.
We need to talk about sexuality after stroke
Stroke survivors and their partners are not adequately supported to deal with changes to their relationships, self-identity, gender roles and intimacy following stroke, according to new research from the University of Sydney.
Standardized stroke protocol can ensure ELVO stroke patients are treated within 60 minutes
A new study shows that developing a standardized stroke protocol of having neurointerventional teams meet suspected emergent large vessel occlusion (ELVO) stroke patients upon their arrival at the hospital achieves a median door-to-recanalization time of less than 60 minutes.
Stroke affects more than just the physical
A new study looks at what problems affect people most after a stroke and it provides a broader picture than what some may usually expect to see.
Stroke journal features women's studies on how gender influences stroke risk, treatment and outcomes
Many aspects of strokes affect women and men differently, and four articles in the American Heart Association's journal Stroke highlight recent research and identify future research needs.
Too few with stroke of the eye are treated to reduce future stroke
Only one-third of 5,600 patients with retinal infarction, or stroke in the eye, underwent basic stroke work-up, and fewer than one in 10 were seen by a neurologist.
More Stroke News and Stroke Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.