Controlling the brain’s danger alarms
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A protein that helps reduce brain inflammation after a stroke has been identified.
Ischaemic stroke occurs when brain cells are deprived of oxygen, and can result in disability or death. Molecules released by the oxygen-starved cells raise the alarm that triggers a protective immune response, but they can prolong inflammation and hinder tissue recovery. A team led by researchers from Keio University identified a protein, MSR1, which helps clear away these overzealous molecular alarms. They also found that mice engineered without the genes behind MSR1 activation suffered worse inflammation and brain damage following ischaemic stroke. The group tested out a drug, Am80, which has been reported to increase expression of genes that activate MSR1. This boosted MSR1 activity and reduced the area of inflammation in the mice brain, even when administered 24 hours after the stroke began.
Therapies that reduce brain inflammation caused by ischaemia could help prevent brain injury.
- Nature Medicine 23, 723–732 (2017). doi: 10.1038/nm.4312