Researchers identify a cell type that limits stroke damage

Jan 27, 2009

A research team including Serge Rivest of University Laval's Faculty of Medicine has demonstrated the existence of a type of cells that limits brain damage after a stroke. The study was recently published in the online version of Nature Medicine.

Laboratory experiments showed that three days after a stroke, the affected area of the brain is 20% larger in mice without regulatory T (Treg) cells than in normal mice. Effects on locomotor control are also more severe in mice lacking this type of cells.

"These results lead us to believe that we could better preserve crucial functions like sight, speech, or control of the limbs if we rapidly stimulated the production of Treg cells in stroke victims," commented Professor Rivest. "We are particularly enthusiastic about this discovery because we already know what chemicals stimulate the production of Treg cells," continued the researcher. "So a treatment may be available in the not too distant future. We also believe that the protective effect of Treg cells could be used to treat other types of brain damage, especially that caused by head injury."

Part of the brain damage occurring after a stroke is caused by the body's immune response. Cells such as microglia and lymphocytes provoke harmful effects similar to those observed during nervous system infections. When performing their cleaning functions, these cells also attack healthy cells, enlarging the damaged area of the brain and threatening certain brain functions. Researchers had suspected the existence of a mechanism that slows this harmful effect of immune cells in the brain, but no one had yet been able to demonstrate it.

Treg cells, produced in the bone marrow and other organs of the immune system, migrate to the brain during the first few days after a stroke. They limit the extent of secondary damage by blocking the production of neurotoxins and modulating the action of lymphocytes and microglia in the brain.

Source: Université Laval

Explore further: US scientists make embryonic stem cells from adult skin

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Synthetic gene circuits pump up cell signals

Apr 08, 2014

(Phys.org) —Synthetic genetic circuitry created by researchers at Rice University is helping them see, for the first time, how to regulate cell mechanisms that degrade the misfolded proteins implicated ...

The promise and peril of nanotechnology

Mar 26, 2014

Scientists at Northwestern University have found a way to detect metastatic breast cancer by arranging strands of DNA into spherical shapes and using them to cover a tiny particle of gold, creating a "nano-flare" ...

Bright future for protein nanoprobes

Mar 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —The term a "brighter future" might be a cliché, but in the case of ultra-small probes for lighting up individual proteins, it is now most appropriate. Researchers at the U.S. Department of ...

Recommended for you

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

New pain relief targets discovered

Apr 17, 2014

Scientists have identified new pain relief targets that could be used to provide relief from chemotherapy-induced pain. BBSRC-funded researchers at King's College London made the discovery when researching ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans

Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.