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Blocking the IKK2 Protein may Prevent Brain Damage Due to Stroke

November 15th 2005

Blocking the IKK2 Protein may Prevent Brain Damage Due to Stroke

Mouse study gives hope

German and Italian scientists believe they have found a protein trigger for cell death, which leads to stroke damage.  This important discovery was reported in the journal Nature Medicine. 

The researchers at the Universities of Heidelberg and Ulm and a unit of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy, identified a signal in brain cells that tell them to die after a stroke.  They believe they can control the protein trigger and save victims from cell death. 

Cell death occurs when blood flow is interrupted to the brain or a portion of the brain.  It may be possible to prevent the cell death if the switched is blocked.  Preventing the cell death could reduce the effects of the stroke including paralysis and speech impairment.


The researchers created a stroke-like condition in mice.  They focused on an internal cell communications network called NF-kB.  This network comes into play when brain cells are damaged, triggering cells to self destruct.  They found that the protein IKK2 activated NF-kB.   

The mice with an over-active form of IKK2 in the neurons had far more brain cells die.  Blocking the IKK2 signal blocked the cell death.  The mice where brain cells stayed alive appeared to show signs of recovery. The Damaged cell tissue was still alive several days after the stroke. 

Current treatments include a regimen of clot-busting drugs.  It is hoped that a treatment involving IKK2 protein blockers is developed. This could save millions of lives a year and help prevent dehabilitating strokes.  Stroke is the third most common form of death in the US behind heart disease and cancer.  New article concerning stroke treatment.

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:40 PM