Basque researchers discover a mechanism that causes neuronal damage in strokes

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014


Work carried out jointly by researchers of the Achucarro Basque Center for Neuroscience, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and CIC biomaGUNE has discovered a new mechanism that provides information on the neuronal damage that occurs as a result of a cerebral ischemia or stroke.

The stroke is caused by a sudden and significant decrease in cerebral blood flow (ischemic stroke) or by bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke). An important amount of brain damage is due to alteration in levels of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that, when found in high levels (something that happens during ischemia), acts in turn as a potent neurotoxin.

Research carried out at the above-mentioned centres has revealed that a molecule, the cystine/glutamate exchanger (xCT), plays an important role in increasing the concentration of glutamate to toxic levels. The research results have been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

This research, carried out on laboratory animals, opens the door for the development of new neuroprotective treatments intended to mitigate brain damage and neurological disorders caused by cerebral ischemia by acting against the xCT exchanger.

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