Washington: A team of researchers discovered a new mechanism that repairs brain after a stroke.
The study conducted at Lund University and Karolinska Institute in Sweden showed that following an induced stroke in mice, support cells, so-called astrocytes, start to form nerve cells in the injured part of the brain.
Zaal, Professor of Experimental Medical Research at Lund University, said that this was the first time that astrocytes had been shown to have the capacity to start a process that lead to the generation of new nerve cells after a stroke.
Kokaia continued that interestingly, even when they blocked the signalling mechanism in mice not subjected to a stroke, the astrocytes formed new nerve cells and this indicated that it was not only a stroke that could activate the latent process in astrocytes. Therefore, the mechanism was a potentially useful target for the production of new nerve cells, when replacing dead cells following other brain diseases or damage.
The new findings further underscore that when the adult brain suffers a major blow such as a stroke, it makes a strong effort to repair itself using a variety of mechanisms.
Olle Lindvall, senior professor of Neurology, said that one of the major tasks now is to explore whether astrocytes are also converted to neurons in the human brain following damage or disease.
Interestingly, it is known that in the healthy human brain, new nerve cells are formed in the striatum.
The study is published in the journal SCIENCE.