Swedish researchers have successfully treated mice and rats so that they regain sensation following a stroke, even several days after it occurs.
Ischemic stroke, where the brain is damaged by a lack of blood flow, can lead to various losses of sensation, including paralysis, and vision and speech difficulties.
A study at Lund University, together with the IRCCS Neuromed Mediterranean Neurological Institute, Italy, and Washington University in St Louis, USA, showed that impairments could be restored in rodents, after a stroke, by treating them with a class of substances that block a protein called metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR5).
mGluR5 is needed for the brain’s nerve cells to effectively ‘communicate’ and relay signals to control movement, for example. By stopping its action, the team saw that rodents’ sensory functions improved, even when the treatment was given 10 days after the stroke.
Professor Tadeusz Wieloch, at Lund, said: “Combined with rehabilitation training, it could eventually be a new promising treatment… The study was conducted on mice and rats, and of course needs to be repeated in humans.”