Monday, September 15, 2014

New class of compounds protect brain cells from traumatic brain injury

A new class of compounds has now been shown to protect brain cells from the type of damage caused by blast-mediated traumatic brain injury (TBI). Mice that were treated with these compounds 24-36 hours after experiencing TBI from a blast injury were protected from the harmful effects of TBI, including problems with learning, memory, and movement.

Traumatic brain injury caused by blast injury has emerged as a common health problem among U.S. servicemen and women, with an estimated 10 to 20 percent of the more than 2 million U.S. soldiers deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan having experienced TBI. The condition is associated with many neurological complications, including cognitive and motor decline, as well as acquisition of psychiatric symptoms like anxiety and depression, and brain tissue abnormalities that resemble Alzheimer's disease.

"The lack of neuroprotective treatments for traumatic brain injury is a serious problem in our society," says Andrew Pieper, M.D., Ph.D., senior study author and associate professor of psychiatry, neurology, and radiation oncology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. "Everyone involved in this work is motivated to find a way to offer hope for patients, which today include both military personnel and civilians, by establishing a basis for a new treatment to combat the deleterious neuropsychiatric outcomes after blast injury."

It is known that TBI, as well as certain neurodegenerative diseases, damages axons - the tendril-like fibers that sprout from brains cells (neurons) and form the connections called synapses. In TBI, axon damage is followed by death of the neuron. The new study, published Sept. 11 in the journal Cell Reports, shows that a group of compounds, called the P7C3 series, blocks axon damage and preserves normal brain function following TBI.

Pieper led the team of scientists that discovered the P7C3 compound several years ago at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Subsequent studies showed that the root compound and its active analogs protect newborn neurons from cell death and also protect mature neurons in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
The researchers have also previously shown efficacy of P7C3 molecules in brain injury due to concussion, and plan to investigate whether these compound might be applicable in stroke as well, given that there appear to be common factors mediating neuronal cell death in these conditions.
Ref :

No comments: