Researchers from the University of South Florida (USF) report that after ischemic stroke, the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) can be impaired in cerebral areas distant from initial ischemic insult. The resulting condition, diaschisis, researchers say, can lead to chronic post-stroke deficits.

The pathological changes in remote areas of the brain following ischemic stroke, likely contribute to chronic deficits, according to Svitlana Garbuzova-Davis, PhD, lead study author, associate professor in USF Health Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair.

“These changes are often related to the loss of integrity of the BBB, a condition that should be considered in the development of strategies for treating stroke and its long-term effects,” Garbuzova-Davis explains.

The release notes that while many studies of stroke and the BBB investigate the acute phase of stroke and its impact on the BBB, the current study spotlighted the longer-term impacts in various parts of the brain.

During the study, the researchers report in university news release that they used laboratory rats modeling ischemic stroke and observed injury not only in the primary area of the stroke, but also in remote areas, where persistent BBB damage could cause chronic loss of competence.

Garbuzova-Davis states that the results suggested the “compromised BBB integrity detected in post-ischemic rat cerebral hemisphere capillaries—both ipsilateral and contralateral to initial stroke insult—might indicate chronic diaschisis. Widespread microvascular damage caused by endothelial cell impairment could aggravate neuronal deterioration. For this reason, chronic diaschisis poses as a therapeutic target for stroke.”

Cesar V. Borlongan, PhD, and Paul R. Sanberg, PhD, DSc, senior study authors, suggest that the primary focus for therapy development could center on restoring endothelial and/or astrocytic integrity towards BBB repair. This may be, “beneficial for many chronic stroke patients,” the researchers add.

The researchers also recommend the potential use of cell therapy to replace damaged endothelial cells.

Source(s): University of South Florida, Science Daily