Role of lactate receptor in neuronal repair after hypoxic injury revealed
Many of our best medical treatments are based on boosting the body’s natural capacity for recovery. So understanding the in-built responses activated during hard-to-treat conditions might point towards new approaches. Hypoxic-ischaemic brain injury is a common cause of disability in newborns that comes from a temporary block of the blood supply to the brain, and current treatments are limited to cooling babies down. Now researchers have investigated the role of lactate – produced by muscles during hard exercise when oxygen levels are low. They found that mice lacking a receptor that lactate binds to barely recovered any brain tissue following the injury, but those with the receptor enlisted the restorative action of immune cells (green in the recovering section pictured) and cell cycle to spark new brain cell growth (pink) and partly repopulate the damaged areas. Harnessing this mechanism could provide a route to improving prospects for babies with hypoxic-ischaemic brain injury.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.