The modification of the scar tissue that develops following a stroke may provide positive implications for stroke survivors, according to a recent news release from Buck Institute, Novato, Calif. The release reports that researchers built on ongoing spinal cord repair studies using a rat model and infusing the animal’s stroke cavity with either the enzyme chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) or the protein heparan sulfate proteoglycan glypican. 

The results suggest that in each case the treatments improved coordination in the animals and that they exhibited less weakness. Justin Hill, MD, lead scientist, adds that the treatments also reduced the size of the scar tissue that had formed following the stroke, “waking up” neurons in the areas surrounding the injury and stimulating the growth of new neurites.

“We think the scar tissue not only blocks off areas of the brain that are injured during stroke, we also believe the scar tissue secretes factors that impact the function of nearby neurons,” Hill notes. The ability to dissolve the scar tissue, Hill says, may also allow neurons to re-route connections around the area injured during the stroke.

Buck Institute reports that future research will target the discovery of potential drug candidates to assist patients who have sustained chronic strokes.

Source: Buck Institute