Brain Protein Critical to Recovery from Stroke Identified

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(News Medical) – Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke and available therapies, such as clot busting drugs or clot removal devices, are focused on limiting the extent of brain damage.

Now, research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System shows that a brain protein called UCHL1 may be critical to how nerve cells repair themselves after stroke damage. The research, conducted in animal models, could aid in the development of therapies that enhance stroke recovery by improving the underlying biological repair process.

“Even though traditional stroke therapies are very effective when available, the treatment must be started in the first hours after a stroke and most patients are not able to get these treatments.

So there is a clear need for new approaches that can improve recovery days after a patient experiences a stroke,” said co-senior author Steven Graham, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology at Pitt’s School of Medicine, and associate chief of staff for research at VA Pittsburgh.

“We think we have identified a protein that is at the root of how the brain recovers from stroke, making it an attractive target for developing drugs that help improve recovery.” CONTINUE