A compound that mimics activity exhibited in a brain-based protein may have treatment implications for stroke, report neuroscientists of the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study’s results were observed in the brains of mice post-stroke and also indicated that the mice experienced quicker recovery of athletic ability.

Marion Buckwalter, MD, PhD, study senior author, (pictured right) assistant professor of neurology and neurological sciences, notes that the LM22A-4 compound was administered to the animals a full 3-days post-stroke. The animals’ improvement suggests that the compound enhances recovery rather than limiting the stroke’s initial damage to the brain, researchers say. Buckwalter reportedly chose to focus on the compound since it had shown promise in prior research. 

“This small molecule stimulates the brain’s own stem cells to form new neurons and therefore may be achieving many of the same things a stem-cell transplant would achieve…It represents an entirely new approach for treating conditions for which we have nothing now,” says Frank Longo, MD, PhD, study co-author, professor and chair of neurology and neurological sciences.

According to a Stanford news release, during the study Buckwalter and her team induced severe strokes on one side of the brain in adult laboratory mice. Prior, the mice had been trained to complete several distinct athletic tasks. After 3 days, researchers report that they administered a once-daily dose of LM22A-4 in solution to one group of mice. A second group of mice were treated with the same solution without LM22A-4. The 3-day delay provided better “real world” results, according to Buckwalter, since patients who have suffered a stroke may be unable to get to a hospital directly after a stroke. 

Researchers note that they continued to administer the treatments for 10 weeks. The study’s results suggest that mice treated with LM22A-4 exhibited a speedier improvement in foot placement and swing speed of the limb on the affected side of the body than mice treated with the solution without LM22A-4. Researchers add that further analysis following the 6 weeks to 10 weeks after stroke, indicated that mice treated with LM22A-4 exhibited twice as many new nerve cells in the stroke-affected brain areas than those treated without the compound.

The compound’s ability to speed walking recovery is key, Buckwalter explains, “A major factor in their ability to retain their independence and regain their self-confidence lies in their recovering the ability to get around on their feet,” she says.

Source: Stanford University School of Medicine