New Anti-Inflammatory Reduces Stroke Damage
Already approved to treat autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the drug interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) may not only limit damage, but also help repair brain cells after an ischemic stroke, according to a new study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
The animal study shows that IL-1Ra administered immediately after a stroke may result in less brain damage and more neurogenesis—brain cell growth. Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted—by a blood clot, for example—causing brain cells to die. Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide.
There are few effective stroke treatments and available therapies only can be used in a small number of patients. Although stroke itself can trigger a strong repair response in damaged areas of the brain, this rejuvenation often is ineffective because many of the new cells do not survive. However, according to researchers, IL-1Ra shows promise in animal subjects—perhaps because the drug reduces inflammation caused by stroke. More studies are needed.
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