New Understanding Of Why Brain Cells Die After Stroke

December 31, 2003 | Source: ScienceDaily

Scientists have found a major mechanism that causes brain cells to die from stroke: when brain cells are deprived of oxygen and vital nutrients, as happens to parts of the brain affected by a stroke, a special channel on the surface of those brain cells is activated, triggering a lethal chain reaction.

The “TRPM7″ channel, when activated causes brain cells to produce large quantities of free radicals — toxic molecules that break down the cell’s DNA, proteins, and other components. Free radicals also cause TRPM7 to become even more active, causing massive overproduction of free radicals, resulting in death of the brain cell.

They have also found that interfering with the activity of TRPM7 allows brain cells to survive for more than three hours without oxygen and vital nutrients. There is now an opportunity to develop new medications that prevent activation of the TRPM7 channel.

News tip: John Pierce