Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine indicate that treating traumatic brain injury (TBI) with a targeted oxidation-blocker can protect against the secondary damage of severe TBI and also preserve function that would otherwise have been impaired. “Our study drug shows promise as a neurorprotective agent that might help address this important health problem,” says senior study author Hülya Bayιr, MD, associate professor, department of critical care medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The release reports that during the study, researchers conducted a global assessment of all phospholipids in rat brain cells. The results suggested that damage from TBI was nonrandom and primarily involved cardiolipin. Researchers explain that in each healthy animal, only 10 of the 190 cardiolipin species were modified by oxygen. However, following brain injury, the number of oxidized species rose.

In response to their findings, researchers reportedly developed an agent called XJB-5-131. The agent was created to cross the blood-brain barrier and prevent the oxidation of cardiolipin. The release notes that researchers used an established research model of severe TBI to inject the agent or placebo into the bloodstream of rats 5 minutes following head injury and once more 24 hours after head injury.

The results suggest that the treated animals exhibited normal performance in tests of balance, agility and motor coordination, learning, and object recognition. In contrast to their treated counterparts, the placebo group exhibited significant impairment. Researchers explain that the study reinforces the concept that blocking cardiolipin oxidation by XJB-5-131 protects the brain from cell death.

Bayιr adds that the treatment might also hold treatment implications for other neurological disorders, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease.

The study appears online in Nature Neuroscience.

Source: University of Pittsburgh Schools of Health Sciences