Cedars-Sinai study: How does a 'good' protein hurt brain cells after clot-induced stroke?

November 22, 2011

LOS ANGELES -- The National Institutes of Health has awarded a four-year, $1.4 million grant to Cedars-Sinai's Department of Neurology to study an unexpected recent discovery: After ischemic stroke - the type caused by a clogged artery but with no bleeding into the brain - a normal protein that plays a positive role in blood clotting escapes intact arteries and damages healthy brain cells.

"We knew thrombin leaked out during hemorrhagic strokes - those in which an artery ruptures - and we knew that in large amounts it killed brain cells. But we decided to see if there was thrombin after ischemic stroke, and, surprisingly, there was a lot, and it was causing major damage to brain cells. When we injected a drug that counters the effects of thrombin, stroke symptoms got better," said Patrick D. Lyden, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology and the Carmen and Louis Warschaw Chair in Neurology at Cedars-Sinai.

He was senior author of a 2010 article in the journal Stroke that described this phenomenon and suggested possible underlying mechanisms. The new grant, he said, will let researchers delve more deeply: Where is the thrombin coming from? What kinds of cells does it kill? What factors inhibit or enhance its effects?

Lyden will continue his work with Roger Y. Tsien, a scientist at the University of California, San Diego. He is one of three winners of the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry for development of green fluorescent protein.

Lyden's study will use fluorescence in rats and mice to light up thrombin and follow its migration and interactions with other molecules in blood vessels and brain tissue.

This is the first NIH funding directly awarded to the Department of Neurology, evidence of its growth since Lyden's arrival in 2009. He and other researchers are also supported by other NIH grants received before he joined Cedars-Sinai.
-end-
Lyden is principal investigator of the "ICTuS" (Intravascular Cooling in the Treatment of Stroke) trials evaluating post-stroke hypothermia therapy in a variety of patient populations and circumstances. The rapid, controlled cooling of a patient's body temperature is intended to reduce long-term neurological damage. He also was one of the key researchers in the major clinical trial leading to Food and Drug Administration approval in 1996 of tPA - tissue plasminogen activator - which remains the only proven and approved drug for stroke treatment.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Related Brain Articles from Brightsurf:

Glioblastoma nanomedicine crosses into brain in mice, eradicates recurring brain cancer
A new synthetic protein nanoparticle capable of slipping past the nearly impermeable blood-brain barrier in mice could deliver cancer-killing drugs directly to malignant brain tumors, new research from the University of Michigan shows.

Children with asymptomatic brain bleeds as newborns show normal brain development at age 2
A study by UNC researchers finds that neurodevelopmental scores and gray matter volumes at age two years did not differ between children who had MRI-confirmed asymptomatic subdural hemorrhages when they were neonates, compared to children with no history of subdural hemorrhage.

New model of human brain 'conversations' could inform research on brain disease, cognition
A team of Indiana University neuroscientists has built a new model of human brain networks that sheds light on how the brain functions.

Human brain size gene triggers bigger brain in monkeys
Dresden and Japanese researchers show that a human-specific gene causes a larger neocortex in the common marmoset, a non-human primate.

Unique insight into development of the human brain: Model of the early embryonic brain
Stem cell researchers from the University of Copenhagen have designed a model of an early embryonic brain.

An optical brain-to-brain interface supports information exchange for locomotion control
Chinese researchers established an optical BtBI that supports rapid information transmission for precise locomotion control, thus providing a proof-of-principle demonstration of fast BtBI for real-time behavioral control.

Transplanting human nerve cells into a mouse brain reveals how they wire into brain circuits
A team of researchers led by Pierre Vanderhaeghen and Vincent Bonin (VIB-KU Leuven, Université libre de Bruxelles and NERF) showed how human nerve cells can develop at their own pace, and form highly precise connections with the surrounding mouse brain cells.

Brain scans reveal how the human brain compensates when one hemisphere is removed
Researchers studying six adults who had one of their brain hemispheres removed during childhood to reduce epileptic seizures found that the remaining half of the brain formed unusually strong connections between different functional brain networks, which potentially help the body to function as if the brain were intact.

Alcohol byproduct contributes to brain chemistry changes in specific brain regions
Study of mouse models provides clear implications for new targets to treat alcohol use disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Scientists predict the areas of the brain to stimulate transitions between different brain states
Using a computer model of the brain, Gustavo Deco, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and Josephine Cruzat, a member of his team, together with a group of international collaborators, have developed an innovative method published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept.

Read More: Brain News and Brain Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.