Clean-up protein may turn the tide on brain hemorrhage survival
With a horrific mortality and recovery rate, intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a devastating disease with poor long-term outcomes for those who do manage to survive it. And studies show that for people who receive treatment at its onset, around 50% of sufferers will see their condition deteriorate within 28 days.
In fact, only a quarter of ICH-related brain deterioration happens in that first 24-hour window. Most occurs during the secondary stage, where blood cells lyse and neurotoxic products are generated. With no effective treatment on offer, this phase of ICH becomes increasingly deadly.
Now, a team from the University of Helsinki together with neuroscience researchers in Taiwan have investigated whether a specific protein has the ability to essentially head into the injury site and do some life-saving clean-up.
The protein, cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF), is currently being studied for its potential use with Parkinson’s disease treatment, but the scientists found it also boosts immune cell response following ICH.
"It's interesting to note that after a bleeding episode, the brain contains a lot of waste and debris,” said study co-author Vassileios Stratoulias, from the University of Helsinki. “Cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor encourages immune cells in the brain to consume and remove the waste and debris, which is essential for the brain’s recovery!”
CDNF sped hemorrhagic lesion resolution, reduced brain swelling, and improved functional outcomes in the animal model used in the study. The CDNF also alleviated cell stress in the area surrounding the injury’s hematoma site and promoted scavenging in the immune cells, seeking out the accumulating waste and debris.
“Surprisingly, we found that cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor acts on immune cells in the bleeding brain by increasing anti-inﬂammatory mediators and suppressing the production of the pro-inﬂammatory cytokines that are responsible for cell signaling,” said co-author Mikko Airavaara, a professor at the University of Helsinki. “This is a significant step towards the treatment of injuries caused by brain hemorrhage, for which we currently have no cure.”
The study was published in the journal Nature.
Source: University of Helsinki