It's in your head: The brain's own globin defends you from shock and stroke

Oct 31, 2006

The next generation of treatments for shock or stroke could be based on a protein that is already in our heads – neuroglobin. In a review article to be published in the November issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists from University of Rome describe this protein, which may be the key to unlocking new therapies to minimize brain damage and improve recoveries for patients.

The Italian researchers suggest that neuroglobin is involved in the brain's response to oxygen deprivation and plays a protective role against brain damage. Structurally similar to hemoglobin (blood) and myoglobin (skeletal muscle), neuroglobin is found in neurons and is most prevalent in areas of the brain that have adapted to physiological stress, such as stroke.

Unlike hemoglobin or myoglobin, however, neuroglobin's primary function does not appear to involve transporting oxygen. Instead, the authors suggest that neuroglobin is more likely to usher in nitric oxide to protect neuron survival and recovery in areas where oxygen supply is reduced.

"Understanding that our brains have a hemoglobin-like molecule in our head that protects and helps restore function in the brain is an important step toward helping people who experience strokes or similar problems," said Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "Hemoglobin carries oxygen to all the body; neuroglobin defends our brain when it needs air. This article provides the first analysis of this exciting finding in brain research."

Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Explore further: Unprecedented germ diversity found in remote Amazonian tribe

Related Stories

China orders media giant Sina to 'improve censorship'

8 hours ago

China's government has threatened to shut down Sina, one of the country's most popular news websites unless it "improves censorship", state media reported, in a rare public glimpse into controls over the ...

Recommended for you

Bacteria play only a minor role stomach ulcers in cattle

23 hours ago

Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna investigated whether stomach ulcers in cattle are related to the presence of certain bacteria. For their study, they analysed bacteria present in ...

New research reveals how our skeleton is a lot like our brain

Apr 17, 2015

Researchers from Monash University and St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne have used mathematical modelling combined with advanced imaging technology to calculate, for the first time, the number and connectivity ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.