Researchers have identified a specific type of cells that can limit brain damage in stroke patients.
They found that crucial functions like sight, speech, or control of the limbs can be preserved by stimulated the production of Treg cells in stroke victims.
In the study conducted using mouse model, the researchers found that the affected area of the brain is 20percent larger in mice without regulatory T (Treg) than in normal mice.
They found that locomotor control was more severely affected in mice lacking this type of cells.
"We are particularly enthusiastic about this discovery because we already know what chemicals stimulate the production of Treg cells," Nature quoted Serge Rivest of University Laval's Faculty of Medicine as saying.
"So a treatment may be available in the not too distant future. We also believe that the protective effect of Treg cells could be used to treat other types of brain damage, especially that caused by head injury," Rivest added.
Treg cells, produced in the bone marrow and other organs of the immune system, migrate to the brain during the first few days after a stroke.
They limit the extent of secondary damage by blocking the production of neurotoxins and modulating the action of lymphocytes and microglia in the brain.
The study appears in Nature Medicine.