Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Boosting Brain Repair

Making an enzyme that clears abnormal proteins in the brain resistant to breakdown enables it to help repair after a stroke

22 March 2019

Boosting Brain Repair

A stroke is the result of a sudden reduction in blood supply to a part of the brain and can be caused by either a blocked or broken blood vessel. The lack of blood (ischemia) to the brain cells can sometimes cause irreversible damage, but scientists have now identified a protein involved in brain cell repair that might hold the key to minimising stroke damage. The protein, called UCHL1, is an enzyme that clears up abnormal and damaged proteins. But during a stroke certain locally secreted molecules block the enzyme’s function. Scientists have now created a version of UCHL1 that's resistant to these inhibitory molecules and have genetically engineered mice to express the lab-made protein. The engineered animals were shown to recover better from experimentally induced stroke than were their control counterparts, providing hope that boosting UCHL1 activity could become a future strategy for stroke therapy.

Written by Ruth Williams

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